Maturational Examination

The maturational examination, a postnatal, indirect method of assessing gestational age, is based upon indicators of fetal neuromuscular and physical maturation. (ref 4) As with fetal growth, fetal maturation may be influenced by a variety of intrauterine experiences. Stressful fetal experiences may accelerate pulmonary (ref 5) and neuromuscular (ref 6) rates of maturation while slowing or not affecting physical maturation. A completely non-stressed fetus may mature more slowly than the average fetus. The same events that accelerate fetal maturation may adversely affect fetal growth. Conversely, those that accelerate fetal growth may delay its maturation.

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