Three-dimensional sonographic measurement of normal fetal brain volume during the second half of pregnancy

Nanette M. Roelfsema, Wim C J Hop, Simona M E Boito, Juriy W. Wladimiroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study was undertaken to develop a three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound method of measuring fetal brain volume. Study design: Serial 3D sonographic measurements of fetal brain volume were made in 68 normal singleton pregnancies at 18 to 34 weeks of gestation. A comparison was made with fetal brain volume estimates from two-dimensional (2D) sonographic measurement of head circumference and published postmortem fetal brain weights. Results: Coefficient of variation for fetal brain volume (3D) caused by differences between repeated tests was 10.2% and between analyses of the same recorded volume 2.2%. Median brain volume increases from 34 mL at 18 weeks to 316 mL at 34 weeks. Median brain weight represented approximately 15% of total fetal weight. The 3D ultrasound-derived brain weight is larger than postmortem brain weight. However, this is not so for brain weight derived from total fetal weight at autopsy. A good agreement between 3D and 2D brain volume was found. Conclusion: Sonographic measurement of fetal brain volume demonstrated an acceptable intraobserver variability and a nearly 10-fold increase during the second half of gestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • Brain volume
  • Brain weight
  • Fetus
  • Three-dimensional
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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