Fetal age estimation
Accurate estimation of fetal age is imperative for optimal maternal and prenatal care. An incorrect estimate of the fetal age can lead to erroneous labour induction, resulting in premature childbirth, or an increased risk of stillbirth. A pregnancy dating scan to define the exact gestational age based on the crown-rump length (CRL) of a fetus, and is normally performed around week 10-11 of the pregnancy. This method has proven much more accurate for gestational compared to using the last menstrual period as a temporal reference. There are, however, many plausible situations in which age determination in a later stage of the pregnancy becomes necessary, for instance when a deceased fetus is found in presumed cases of neonaticide or infanticide.
To improve mother-and-child care in clinical cases of nonstandard (e.g. trisomies, multifetal) or uncontrolled pregnancies and to improve age estimation in cases of neonaticide there is an urge to create a scientifically validated tool to adequately estimate fetal age over the entire course of the pregnancy.