Spine length measurement in the first trimester of pregnancy

P. De Biasio, G. Ginocchio, M. Vignolo, G. Ravera, P. L. Venturini, G. Aicardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate spine length as an indicator of skeletal growth in the first trimester of pregnancy and to provide a nomogram of spine length at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. Methods: The study was carried out on 420 single pregnancies, at gestational ages ranging from 11 to 14 weeks, using high-resolution transabdominal echography. Biparietal diameter and crown-rump length (CRL) were measured to date the pregnancy. Using the same scanning plane used to measure CRL, the whole spine length in antero-dorsal position can be visualized as a double hyperechoic line from 10 weeks of gestation onwards. Spine length was measured three times by one observer and the mean of the three measurements was considered as definitive. Forty fetuses had multiple measurements for interobserver and intraobserver error analysis. Results: Linear relationship between spine length, and gestational age, biparietal diameter and CRL were demonstrated. Spine length (millimetres) as a function of gestational age (days) was expressed by the regression equation: spine length = 1.09 x (gestational age in days) -60.56, with a determination coefficient of R2 = 0.744. Spine length ranged from 21.5 mm at 11 weeks to 41.9 mm at 14 weeks. Conclusion: The data obtained showed that spine length increased progressively from the end of the first trimester to the beginning of the second. A high correlation between spine length, gestational age, biparietal diameter, and CRL was observed. Spine length measurement could therefore be considered a good indicator of fetal growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-822
Number of pages5
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


  • Fetal biometry
  • Fetal spine length
  • Gestational age assessment
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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