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The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Standards for the 21st Century


The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium

University of Oxford

Text prepared by Sandy Savini

The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century, or INTERGROWTH-21st, is a global, multidisciplinary network of more than 300 researchers and clinicians from 27 institutions in 18 countries worldwide and coordinated from the University of Oxford. They are dedicated to improving perinatal health globally and committed to reducing the millions of preventable newborn deaths that occur as a result of preterm birth or poor intrauterine growth.

In order to meet this goal, international growth standards are needed to measure and improve maternal and newborn clinical care, and compare outcomes across populations. Such standards exist to monitor the growth of infants and children. They are the WHO Child Growth Standards, and their release in 2006 was a landmark achievement. These scientifically based standards are now used worldwide.

However, the fetal and newborn counterpart has been missing, which has led them to implement the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. Their aim was to extend the WHO Child Growth Standards into the fetal and neonatal period, providing tools for continuity of care from conception to 5 years of age.

The INTERGROWTH-21st Consortium implemented three population-based studies using standardised methods, and clinical and research protocols. They gathered a rich body of data on health, growth and nutrition from pregnancy to early infancy from close to 60,000 women and newborns across five continents, making the INTERGROWTH-21st Project the largest collaborative venture in the field of perinatal health research to-date.

The resulting data provide unique insights into growth and development for the 21st century. The findings also provide new ways of classifying preterm and small for gestational age newborns. In addition, they have produced a new international equation for estimating gestational age through ultrasound early in pregnancy based on the first international crown-rump length standards, and have developed the resources necessary for enabling the adoption and scale-up of these tools at all levels of the health care system.

INTERGROWTH-21st and GFMER collaboration: translating research into practice


INTERGROWTH-21st Webinar on Vimeo

The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research has been designated as one of the principal partners for the dissemination and implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project at a global level through its international network of health professionals and partner institutions.

The INTERGROWTH-21st website

Research Unit

Dissemination Partners

Collaborating Partners