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February 7, 1977

The Biology of Human Fetal Growth

Author Affiliations

University of Texas Health Science Center Dallas

JAMA. 1977;237(6):583. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270330073031

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The book summarizes the proceedings of the 1974 meeting of the Society for the Study of Human Biology. The topic is timely, as many advances are being made in human fetal research with the advent of liberalized abortion laws.

There are four main sections. The first concerns techniques used in assessing fetal development and well-being. The topics cover placental function tests, placental hormone and enzyme production, placental transport, the fetoplacental unit, and growth and development of the fetus and placenta. A special section assesses gestational age and fetal maturity, using ultrasound and amniotic fluid lecithin-to-sphyngomyelin ratios. This is followed by a thorough article on the use of ultrasound in assessing fetal growth and development.

The second section discusses factors affecting growth of the fetus and postnatal complications. Short papers cover metrical growth and skeletal development, the concept of the "light for dates" infant, relations of birth weight and gestational time