A dynamical systems model of intrauterine fetal growth

Mohammad T. Freigoun, Daniel E. Rivera, Penghong Guo, Emily E. Hohman, Alison D. Gernand, Danielle Symons Downs, Jennifer S. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The underlying mechanisms for how maternal perinatal obesity and intrauterine environment influence foetal development are not well understood and thus require further understanding. In this paper, energy balance concepts are used to develop a comprehensive dynamical systems model for foetal growth that illustrates how maternal factors (energy intake and physical activity) influence foetal weight and related components (fat mass, fat-free mass, and placental volume) over time. The model is estimated from intensive measurements of foetal weight and placental volume obtained as part of Healthy Mom Zone (HMZ), a novel intervention for managing gestational weight gain in obese/overweight women. The overall result of the modelling procedure is a parsimonious system of equations that reliably predicts foetal weight gain and birth weight based on a sensible number of assessments. This model can inform clinical care recommendations as well as how adaptive interventions, such as HMZ, can influence foetal growth and birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-667
Number of pages27
JournalMathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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