Dr Teresa MacDonald awarded Early Career Researcher Award

The Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology congratulates Dr Teresa MacDonald for winning the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) Early Career Researcher Award.

She was awarded on her presentation "Reduced growth velocity from the mid-trimester is associated with placental insufficiency in fetuses born at a normal birthweight". The study performed by Teresa, Dr Lucy Kennedy, and other co-authors analysed fetal growth velocities as the changes in estimated fetal weight, and abdominal circumference, centiles between the routine mid-trimester morphology scan and a 36-week growth scan. Significant relationships with indicators of placental insufficiency were found for fetuses who slowed in growth - dropping more than 30 centiles between the two scans - despite the fact that the babies included in the study were born at what is considered to be a normal birthweight (>10th centile). This study adds further support to the idea that fetuses who slow in growth may be at increased risk of adverse outcomes related to placental insufficiency. Potentially this sort of assessment of fetal wellbeing could be made with the addition of only an extra 36-week scan, which could also help to find more small for gestational age babies.  Identifying more small fetuses and more fetuses with slowing growth who are not small, may help us to add extra surveillance and to time delivery appropriately in order to hopefully reduce stillbirth - a tragic outcome associated with placental insufficiency.