The 'gold standard' for optimal fetal growth and development
Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, 14, (Supplement 6), .
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It is now becoming accepted that birth size per se is too crude an outcome measure to be used for the assessment of optimal intrauterine growth and development, and that a new vision of optimal fetal development is required for the 21st century. This will need to take account of both short- and long-term outcomes, to recognize that maternal body composition and diet can have long-term effects without necessarily affecting size at birth, and to take account of important interactions between the pre- and postnatal environments. At present, our understanding is limited and new definitions should only be considered as working hypotheses. Nonetheless, it is possible to begin to set out a framework for defining optimal fetal growth and development. This acknowledges the importance of developmental adaptations to alterations in the nutrient and hormonal milieu in utero and could have a major impact on human health in the century to come.
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