In-utero development of the fetal colon and rectum: Sonographic evaluation

Y. Zalel, Y. Perlitz, R. Gamzu, D. Peleg, M. Ben-Ami*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To construct a normal range for the internal diameter of the fetal descending colon and rectum during gestation. Subjects and Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional study including 379 healthy pregnant women with normal singleton pregnancies at 19-40 weeks of gestation. Measurements of the fetal descending colon (maximum internal diameter) and the fetal rectum (at the level of the bladder, measuring the anteroposterior diameter), were performed by high-resolution transabdominal sonography. Results: Adequate bowel measurements were obtained in all 379 fetuses. The diameter of the descending colon and rectum plotted as a function of gestational age had a sigmoid curve; the curve estimation was expressed by a cubic regression equation with R2 of 0.848 and 0.831, respectively (P < 0.0001). The normal mean and the 95% prediction limits were defined. Conclusion: The present data provide a normal range of fetal bowel (descending colon and rectum) diameters from the early second trimester of pregnancy onwards. They may allow intrauterine assessment of the development of the fetal colon and may serve as reference values in the detection of anomalies of the fetal bowel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-164
Number of pages4
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003


  • Fetal bowel
  • Fetal colon
  • Nomogram
  • Ultrasound biometry


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