The importance of the female womb and the mysterious processes that take place in the uterus before birth caused it to be a sacred symbol from ancient history onwards 1. Despite this ancient general acknowledgement of the importance of fetal growth and development for human existence on earth, the only thing, however, that was generally known about pregnancy was that it lasted circa 9 lunar months. -A concept that hasn’t changed considerably though- It wasn’t until the 20th century that science enabled unravelling some of the mysteries of pregnancy. In 1968, still little was known about human fetal development. Kloosterman, a Dutch professor in obstetrics, described knowledge of that time in the following way: ”How intrauterine growth processes during a normal pregnancy evolve and what regulates these processes in humans is practically unknown. This especially involves humans for the developing human conceptus is hardly accessible for observation. Fact is that fetal growth velocity diff ers and that it is malpractice to use birth weight as a measure for maturity at birth. An early born giant and a late born dwarf with a similar birth weight can diff er largely in maturity and development.”

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Steegers, Prof. Dr. E.A.P. (promotor),Hofman, Prof. Dr. A. (promotor),Sorg-Saem BV, Astraia leverancier Benelux,Philips Medical Systems,Star-MDC, Rotterdam,Serono Benelux BV, an affi liate of MerckSerono SA,Bayer Schering Pharma,Novo Nordisk B.V.,Wyeth Pharmaceuticals bv
E.A.P. Steegers (Eric) , A. Hofman (Albert)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verburg, B. O. (2007, November 28). Fetal Growth and Development: The Generation R Study. Retrieved from