The INTERGROWTH-21st project, coordinated by the University of Oxford’s Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute (OMPHI), was conducted from 2009 to 2014 in eight sites around the world to create international standards for pregnancy dating, fetal growth and newborn size. These tools provide an extension of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards into the early neonatal and fetal period, thus offering a standardized method of assessing growth along the continuum of fetal through early childhood growth and development, which is useful for both providers and patients.
Research from the INTERGROWTH-21st project found that, contrary to previous research, when mothers are healthy, babies around the globe grow at similar rates regardless of race and ethnicity. These findings have significant implications for improving the quality of perinatal research and newborn care. The INTERGROWTH-21st charts provide more accurate guidelines for measuring and classifying newborn growth. Babies who are measured using previous growth charts are often misclassified and, in turn, do not get the care they need. The researchers have estimated that each year, at least 13 million newborns around the world who would be considered normal size based on outdated charts will be identified as undernourished using the more accurate INTERGROWTH-21st standards.
The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) partnered with OMPHI to inform policymakers and clinicians of the benefits of using INTERGROWTH-21st charts for newborn health. Through the INTERGROWTH-21st project, the MHTF and OMPHI helped bridge the gap between research and practice by connecting leading researchers, policymakers and program implementers to incorporate INTERGROWTH-21st standards into global efforts to improve newborn health.
Findings from the INTERGROWTH-21ST project:
International estimated fetal weight standards of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology | March 2017
International standards for symphysis-fundal height based on serial measurements from the Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project: Prospective cohort study in eight countries
BMJ | November 2016
International standards for early fetal size and pregnancy dating based on ultrasound measurement of crown-rump length in the first trimester
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology | November 2014
The likeness of fetal growth and newborn size across non-isolated populations in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project: The Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study and Newborn Cross-Sectional Study
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology | July 2014
Special issue: The methodology of the INTERGROWTH‐21st Project
BJOG | September 2013
Tools and resources from the INTERGROWTH-21st project:
Learn more about this project on the INTERGROWTH-21st website.