Intervention Review

Symphysial fundal height (SFH) measurement in pregnancy for detecting abnormal fetal growth

  1. Japaraj Robert Peter1,*,
  2. Jacqueline J Ho2,
  3. Jayabalan Valliapan1,
  4. Subramaniam Sivasangari3

Editorial Group: Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group

Published Online: 11 JUL 2012

Assessed as up-to-date: 8 JUN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008136.pub2

How to Cite

Robert Peter J, Ho JJ, Valliapan J, Sivasangari S. Symphysial fundal height (SFH) measurement in pregnancy for detecting abnormal fetal growth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD008136. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008136.pub2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Ipoh Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

  2. 2

    Penang Medical College, Department of Paediatrics, Penang, Malaysia

  3. 3

    National Institute of Health, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

*Japaraj Robert Peter, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ipoh Hospital, Jalan Hospital, Ipoh, Perak, 30990, Malaysia.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: New
  2. Published Online: 11 JUL 2012




  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. アブストラクト
  5. 平易な要約


Symphysis fundal height (SFH) measurement is commonly practiced primarily to detect fetal intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Undiagnosed IUGR may lead to fetal death as well as increase perinatal mortality and morbidity.


The objective of this review is to compare SFH measurement with serial ultrasound measurement of fetal parameters or clinical palpation to detect abnormal fetal growth (IUGR and large-for-gestational age), and improving perinatal outcome.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (20 January 2012) and reference lists of retrieved articles.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials including quasi-randomised and cluster-randomised trials involving pregnant women with singleton fetuses at 20 weeks' gestation and above comparing tape measurement of SFH with serial ultrasound measurement of fetal parameters or clinical palpation using anatomical landmarks.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, trial quality and extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy.

Main results

One trial involving 1639 women was included. It compared SFH measurement with clinical abdominal palpation.

There was no difference in the two reported primary outcomes of incidence of small-for-gestational age (risk ratio (RR) 1.32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92 to 1.90) or perinatal death. There was no difference in the reported secondary outcomes of neonatal hypoglycaemia, admission to neonatal nursery, admission to the neonatal nursery for IUGR, induction of labour and caesarean section.

Authors' conclusions

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether SFH measurement is effective in detecting IUGR. We cannot therefore recommended any change of current practice. Further trials are needed.


Plain language summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. アブストラクト
  5. 平易な要約

Measuring the height of the uterus from the symphysis pubis (SFH) in pregnancy for detecting problems with fetal growth

Monitoring the baby’s growth is important during pregnancy. If growth is poor then this should be identified as soon as possible, because delay might result in the baby’s death. The simplest way to determine growth is to examine the mother by abdominal palpation and estimate the size of her womb compared with a landmark such as the navel (umbilicus). An alternative method is to use a tape measure to take a measurement, known as the symphysial fundal height (SFH) measurement, from the mother’s pubic bone (symphysis pubis) to the top of the womb. The measurement is then applied to the gestation by a simple rule of thumb and compared with normal growth. It is not known which of these two methods is more likely to detect poor growth. Ultrasound assessment can also be used to detect growth restriction but this is costly and not always available, and there are concerns about its unnecessary use. This review found only one randomised trial (involving 1639 women at 20 weeks’ gestation and above) comparing repeated measures of SFH with abdominal palpation. The trial found no difference between the two approaches in detecting poor growth. With such limited evidence it is still not known whether one method is more effective than the other, and how these methods compare with ultrasound measurement. We therefore do not recommend any change in current practice.



  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. アブストラクト
  5. 平易な要約







Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register(2012年1月20日)および収集した論文の文献リストを検索した。











  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. アブストラクト
  5. 平易な要約




監  訳: 江藤 宏美,2012.11.14

実施組織: 厚生労働省委託事業によりMindsが実施した。

ご注意 : この日本語訳は、臨床医、疫学研究者などによる翻訳のチェックを受けて公開していますが、訳語の間違いなどお気づきの点がございましたら、Minds事務局までご連絡ください。Mindsでは最新版の日本語訳を掲載するよう努めておりますが、編集作業に伴うタイム・ラグが生じている場合もあります。ご利用に際しては、最新版(英語版)の内容をご確認ください。