Tracking your baby's growth and development is one of the more rewarding aspects of pregnancy. But so much of what's going on in your womb is a mystery, even your baby's size. That's why learning how to measure fundal height is so cool, because it helps you estimate the size of your growing baby. Think of it as a sort of height chart for babies still in utero.
Also known as McDonald's Rule, fundal height can be used to estimate the baby's growth. To get your fundal height, measure from the top of your pubic bone to the top of the uterus in centimeters, as noted in Babble. The measurement should be near your baby's gestational age. For instance, a fundal height measurement of 22 centimeters is expected when a woman is about 19 to 25 weeks pregnant, as further explained in Babble.
Although the fundal height measurement is a diagnostic tool for doctors, you can measure your own at home. Simply get a tape measure, lie back, and record the results. For a more in-depth look, check out the How to measure your own fundus during pregnancy vid from YouTuber Creatively Sara. The home measurements may not go on any medical records, but they're a fun way to track your baby's growth outside the official doctor visits.
Although it's exciting to see how your baby grows, there are additional health-based reasons physicians may check fundal height. Again, the measurement will ideally match your baby's gestational age. "Measurements between 20 weeks and 36 weeks should be within 2 centimeters of the weeks of gestation," said midwife Elizabeth Stein, C.N.M., M.S.N., M.P.H., in Fit Pregnancy. "For example, at 32 weeks pregnant, the range of normal for fundal height is 30 to 34 centimeters. Any measurement larger or smaller should be a red flag that needs further evaluation." Although fundal height measurements are not as exact as ultrasounds, they can still offer another potential way to ensure the baby is growing at a healthy rate, according to Babble.
That said, there probably isn't a reason to panic if your fundal height measurement is a little bit off. In fact, there are plenty of potential causes for inaccurate measurements. A pregnant person's weight, or health concerns such as a history of fibroids, can make for less accurate fundal height measurements, according to the Mayo Clinic. This measurement is a tool, and it isn't exact, as further noted by the Mayo Clinic. Of course, if you have any concerns about your fundal height measurement, then don't hesitate to ask your healthcare provider for more information.
Sometimes, however, fundal height measurements do point to potential problem areas. For example, a fundal height measurement that's larger or smaller than expected may point to slow fetal growth, a larger than average baby, or imbalances in the amniotic fluid levels, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. In these cases, your healthcare provider might recommend an ultrasound to get a better look at your baby. Hopefully, though, both you and your little one will be just fine, whatever the measurements say.