Development and testing of a procedure for systematically assigning gestational age for clinical and research use

Rebecca Ruth Dillard Martin, The University of Texas School of Public Health


A graphing method was developed and tested to estimate gestational ages pre-and postnatally in a consistent manner for epidemiological research and clinical purposes on feti/infants of women with few consistent prenatal estimators of gestational age. Each patient's available data was plotted on a single page graph to give a comprehensive overview of that patient. A hierarchical classification of gestational age determination was then applied in a systematic manner, and reasonable gestational age estimates were produced. The method was tested for validity and reliability on 50 women who had known dates for their last menstrual period or dates of conception, and multiple ultrasound examinations and other gestational age estimating measures. The feasibility of the procedure was then tested on 1223 low income women with few gestational age estimators. The graphing method proved to have high inter- and intrarater reliability. It was quick, easy to use, inexpensive, and did not require special equipment. The graphing method estimate of gestational age for each infant was tested against the last menstrual period gestational age estimate using paired t-Tests, F tests and the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test of similar populations, producing a 98 percent probability or better that the means and data populations were the same. Less than 5 percent of the infants' gestational ages were misclassified using the graphing method, much lower than the amount of misclassification produced by ultrasound or neonatal examination estimates.

Subject Area

Obstetrics|Gynecology|Public health|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Martin, Rebecca Ruth Dillard, "Development and testing of a procedure for systematically assigning gestational age for clinical and research use" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9700044.