We are happy to announce a new partnership with a creative U.S. based team-- the folks at Mommy Measure. Mommy Measure uses the concept of fundal height as a way to empower pregnant women in the U.S. to track one of the parameters of pregnancy-- the growing belly!
Maternova has been working with Mommy Measure to translate this device into a variation useful for antenatal care settings in lower resource settings. The obstetric measuring tape can be used by midwives to identify pregnancies that may be at higher risk.
Though not a perfect measure, the symphysis-fundal height can be used to complement other methods of tracking pregnancies. Particularly useful in the second half of pregnancy, the fundal height measures, in centimeters, the length/height from the top of the woman's public bone to the top of the uterus. This measurement actually correlates with the weeks of gestation. Thus a measurement of 22 cm is approximately indicative of a normal pregnancy at 22 weeks (plus or minus).
The fundal height measurement, according to the literature, is most useful in terms of tracking a pregnancy over time-- does the height continue to increase every two weeks and correlate with the gestational age? If dramatically off, it MAY signify a problem that needs further exploration. For example, if the fundal height were dramatically lower than expected, it might signify intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and a risk of a low birth weight baby, for which special preparations should be made. On the other hand, if fundal height were dramatically higher than expected, it might signify polyhydramnios or multiples (twins!).
Note that the literature on standards for different populations is not entirely conclusive. For example, this study delineated specific fundal height measurements for pregnant Nigerian women. The literature also notes that the metric works best when the same provider takes and records the measurement each time. Ideally, a range of measurements for the obstetric tape would be created for each local population, identifying women at the extremes.
Each midwifery society and obstetric society will likely have its own standards for fundal height measurement, and a consensus on what other measures should complement this measure. This device should not be implemented independent of consultation with national guidelines!
The other innovation on the Mommy Measure/ Maternova version is the pictographs on the reverse side ,indicating danger signs of pregnancy. A set of images can be used to indicate to expectant mothers and family members, the kinds of symptoms that require immediate attention.