Study of foot length as an alternate measurement for assessment of gestational maturity in neonates


  • Ananya S. L. Tenali Department of Pediatrics, Saveetha Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Ravi Kumar Tenali Department of Pediatrics, RICH Hospitals, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India



Foot length, Gestational age, Neonate, New Ballard score, Preterm


Background: The aim was to study neonatal foot length as a simple method for quick gestational age assessment which can be done by basic healthcare personnel overcoming the technicality required by other assessment methods.

Methods: Prospective descriptive study was done. Live born neonates at Saveetha Medical College, Kanchipuram from June 2016 to June2017 were enrolled. Gestational age was assessed by New Ballard’s Scoring and footlength was measured using the paddle blades of automated digital Vernier calipers within 24 hours while birth weight was taken within 72 hours of birth. Based on gestational age, babies were grouped into preterm, term and post term and were subclassified as small for gestational age (SGA), appropriate for gestational age (AGA) and large for gestational age (LGA) based on Lubchenco’s intrauterine growth chart. Correlation and regression analysis and Scattergram was done.

Results: Out of 300 neonates, term, preterm and post-term were 70.3%,28.3% and1.3% while SGA, AGA, and LGA babies were 9%, 88% and 3%. Mean foot length was 7.728cm±0.59 with a range of 5-8.8cm. Foot length strongly correlated with gestational age in Preterm AGA, SGA and Term AGA babies (<0.001). Correlation coefficient of foot length with gestational age was higher in preterms (r=0.95). Gestational age in 54% of study population could be calculated with the derived regression equation derived.

Conclusions: Foot length maybe useful for quick estimation of gestational age in preterm and term neonates for early referral of newborns requiring special care and can even be done by basic healthcare personnel.


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