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Stillbirth and Fetal Growth Restriction

BUKOWSKI, RADEK MD, PhD

Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: September 2010 - Volume 53 - Issue 3 - p 673-680
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181eba0db
Stillbirth

The association between stillbirth and fetal growth restriction is strong and supported by a large body of evidence and clinically employed for the stillbirth prediction. However, although assessment of fetal growth is a basis of clinical practice, it is not trivial. Essentially, fetal growth is a result of the genetic growth potential of the fetus and placental function. The growth potential is the driving force of fetal growth, whereas the placenta as the sole source of nutrients and oxygen might become the rate limiting element of fetal growth if its function is impaired. Thus, placental dysfunction may prevent the fetus from reaching its full genetically determined growth potential. In this sense fetal growth and its aberration provides an insight into placental function. Fetal growth is a proxy for the test of the effectiveness of placenta, whose function is otherwise obscured during pregnancy.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Correspondence: Radek Bukowski, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX. E-mail: rkbukows@utmb.edu

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.