Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Harvey J. Kliman


The placenta aids in providing nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the developing fetus. Using a validated tool to measure Estimated Placenta Volume (EPV) prior studies have shown a small EPV predicts low birthweight in pregnant women in US institutions. The aim of this study was to develop Estimated Placental Volume (EPV) normative curves for a population of women in Zimbabwe across a range of gestational ages. Additionally, to determine if low EPV measurements were predictive of IUFD or stillbirth. From January to June of 2019 a total of 150 women at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital in Harare Zimbabwe underwent obstetric ultrasound scans between 11+0 to 38+ 6 weeks gestational age (GA). EPVs were calculated using the previously validated Merwins’ calculator. Analysis of EPV versus gestational age revealed a parabolic curve with the following best fit equation: EPV= (0.3923 GA – 0.000486 GA2)3 Two participants had stillbirths associated with low EPV measurements. We conclude that placental volume increases throughout gestation in our cohort of Zimbabwean women and follows a predictable parabolic curve. With a larger patient cohort and more follow up EPV maybe a simple and cost-effective screen to identify women in low resource settings who are carrying fetuses at risk for intrauterine growth restriction, IUFD and stillbirth an allow for increased prenatal care in pregnancy.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access