There are more than four million births per year in the US alone. And just in time for spring, a time associated with new life, Wolfram|Alpha’s research team has introduced a unique set of tools to help soon-to-be mothers and fathers better understand what is happening to their developing fetuses throughout pregnancy.

One of the most common methods of monitoring fetal development is through ultrasounds. Besides providing first glimpses of the baby, ultrasound images also provide doctors and technicians with important information about the fetus’s physical development. This information is useful in helping doctors diagnose, predict, and potentially avoid complications further down the line in pregnancy. To find out the typical measurements of a fetus for a given gestational age (e.g. 21 weeks), try entering something like “pregnant 21 weeks” into Wolfram|Alpha.

For the gestational age of 21 weeks, Wolfram|Alpha can tell you the estimated fetal weight, the normal range of fetal weights, and the estimated dates of conception and birth.

Pregnant 21 weeks

By scrolling down the page, you can find normal fetal measurements along with pregnancy milestones, the typical amount of weight the mother has gained up to this point in pregnancy, and the amniotic fluid index.

One of the most interesting pieces of information that a doctor can deduce from ultrasound images and measurements is the current fetal weight. By plugging the current week of pregnancy along with the fetal weight into Wolfram|Alpha, you can see where the fetus falls within the normal distribution of typical fetal weights, as well as the projected weight at birth. For example, by entering “27 weeks pregnant 1 lb 15 oz” and clicking the “Show larger plot” button within the “Fetal weight” information pod, we can see that the input values indicate that the fetus is a little below average, and falls in the lower 26th percentile of fetal weights. Based on this percentile, the birth weight is projected to be 6 lb 11 oz.

27 weeks pregnant 1 lb 15 oz

Your doctor may also supply you with a print out of your baby’s measurements following your ultrasound appointment. By plugging these specific measurements into Wolfram|Alpha, you can see where your fetus’s measurements may lie in relation to the normal distribution of other fetuses within the US. For example, by entering “pregnant femur length 40 mm”, the gestational age is computed for the time period when the queried femur length value falls approximately within the 50th percentile of the normal distribution of fetal femur lengths. In this case, a femur length of 40 mm falls (approximately) within the 50th percentile for fetuses at 23 weeks. You can find your input femur length within the “Fetal measurements” table. To see where your fetus’s measurement falls within the normal distribution, click the “Show plots” button.

Pregnant femur length 40 mm

Pregnant femur length 40 mm

To plot a specific measurement value for a specific week of pregnancy, a more targeted query must entered: “pregnancy 24 weeks femur length 40 mm”.

By scrolling down to the “Fetal measurements” table, we can see that the femur length of 40 mm now falls within the 16th percentile of the normal distribution. By clicking the “Show plots” button and then “Show larger plots”, we can see where our value lies in the distribution more clearly.

Pregnancy 24 weeks femur length 40 mm

Other interesting queries that you can try include entering a specific milestone to find out when it usually occurs during pregnancy. For example:

Other information provided with all pregnancy-related queries includes the typical fetal heart rate, the typical total maternal weight gain to be expected at certain points in pregnancy, and the amniotic fluid index (AFI), which is an import indication of your fetus’s health. If you know your AFI, you can include it with your query; for example: “30 weeks pregnant AFI 152”.

By scrolling down to the “Amniotic fluid index” plot and clicking the “Show larger plot” button we can see that the entry of 152 is well within the normal range of values.

30 weeks pregnant AFI 152

We hope our new pregnancy-related tools are useful to all users, and we are always interested in suggestions that we can use to improve the quality and breadth of the information we provide. Feel free to submit a suggestion and to check back with us soon to find out what else we have added to Wolfram|Alpha’s ever-expanding range of medical-related content.

1 Comment

This is wonderful. I have been using same and similar for checking out my baby’s growth after birth also.

Posted by DG May 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm Reply
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