- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
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First trimester (3)
- Nausea during pregnancy: A good thing?
- Implantation bleeding: Normal in early pregnancy?
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Second trimester (1)
- Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
Third trimester (1)
- Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
Pregnancy problems (9)
- Low amniotic fluid: How is it treated?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
What's the significance of a fundal height measurement?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
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Fundal height is generally defined as the distance from the top of the uterus to the pubic bone measured in centimeters. After the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, your fundal height measurement often matches the number of weeks you've been pregnant. For example, if you're 27 weeks pregnant, your health care provider would expect your fundal height to be about 27 centimeters. It isn't unusual, however, to measure somewhat smaller or larger than expected.
This might happen if you:
- Have a tall or slim frame
- Have a short or heavy frame
- Have a full bladder
- Are carrying twins or other multiples
In other cases, fundal height that measures smaller or larger than expected — or increases more or less quickly than expected — could indicate conditions such as:
- Slow fetal growth (intrauterine growth restriction)
- Rapid fetal growth (macrosomia)
- Too little amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
- Too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)
- Uterine fibroids
- A baby prematurely descending into the pelvis or settling into a breech or other unusual position
Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might recommend an ultrasound or other tests to determine what's causing the unusual measurements.
Remember, fundal height is only a tool for gauging fetal growth and gestational age — it's not an exact science. Typically, fundal height measurements offer reassurance of a baby's steady growth. If you're concerned about your fundal height measurements, ask your health care provider for details.Next question
Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
- Figueras F, et al. Intrauterine growth restriction: New concepts in antenatal surveillance, diagnosis, and management. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;204:288.
- Jehan I, et al. Dating gestational age by last menstrual period, symphysis-fundal height, and ultrasound in urban Pakistan. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2010;110:231.
- Morse K, et al. Fetal growth screening by fundal height measurement. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2009;23:809.
- Kahn BF, et al. Intrauterine growth restriction. In: Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed May 20, 2011.
- Katz VL. Prenatal care. In: Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed May 20, 2011.