February 1980

Fetal Growth in Humans

Author Affiliations

John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford, England


by Herbert C. Miller and Allen Merritt, 180 pp, Chicago, Year Book Medical Publishers Inc, 1979.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(2):213. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130140079026

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This book reports the findings of an exhaustive five-year study made personally by the authors. The main objectives of the study were as follows: (1) to construct standards for presumably normal fetal growth from anthropometric data of newborn infants who were "free from all known growth retarding influences in utero"; (2) to expand the number of atypical fetal growth patterns presently being recognized and to compare infants with these atypical patterns against the normal standards; and (3) to describe the causes and consequences of atypical fetal growth.

The authors thus set themselves a formidable task, and it would have been impossible to satisfy all their potential critics. Most clinicians and research workers in this field would agree that the criterion of slow fetal growth in terms of weight for gestational age at birth is not entirely satisfactory. But it has, at least, the advantages of general acceptance and simplicity. This