Reproducibility and acceptability of ultrasound measurements of head–perineum distance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: We aimed to test the reproducibility of head–perineum distance (HPD) measurements using two different ultrasound devices and five examiners, to compare ultrasound measurements and clinical assessments and to study if ultrasound examinations were acceptable for women in labor. Material and methods: A reproducibility study was performed at Lund University Hospital, Sweden and Landspitali University Hospital, Iceland from February 2015 to February 2017. The study population comprised 40 healthy women in labor. HPD was measured with three replicate measurements from each woman with two different ultrasound devices, and the measurements were compared with clinical assessments. Acceptability was tested with a visual analog scale (VAS), and the mean VAS score from both ultrasound devices was compared with the VAS score from clinical palpation. Results: The median time interval between start of examinations with devices was 10 min (range 1–26 min). The intra-observer repeatability coefficient was 4.3 mm and the intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.97 (95% CI 0.95–0.98). The intraclass correlation coefficient between the two devices was 0.86 (95% CI 0.74–0.93) and limits of agreement were −9.6 mm to 16.6 mm. However, we observed a significant mean HPD difference between devices (3.5 mm; 95% CI 1.4–5.6 mm). Clinical assessments and the mean measurements of HPD were correlated (r = 0.64, p < 0.01). We found significant differences in acceptability in favor of ultrasound. The mean VAS score for both ultrasound devices was 2.0 vs. 4.1 for clinical examination (p < 0.01). Conclusion: We found excellent intra-observer repeatability, good correlation but significant difference between devices. Women reported less discomfort with ultrasound than with clinical examinations.


  • Sigurlaug Benediktsdottir
  • Kjell Salvesen
  • Hulda Hjartardottir
  • Torbjørn M. Eggebø
External organisations
  • National University Hospital of Iceland
  • St. Olav’s University Hospital
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • Delivery, head–perineum distance, labor, perineum, ultrasound
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes