Summary of the New Ballard Score Monograph
The sum of all 12 criteria represents the neuromuscular and physical maturation of the fetus. When compared to the grid on the score sheet, the score denotes the infant's gestational age by maturational examination.
The maturational assessment of gestational age is a clinical tool that may be influenced by certain biological factors. A working knowledge of the assessment tool includes a knowledge of the standardized method for performing the exam, and an awareness of those intrauterine factors that influence the neuromuscular and physical maturational rates of the fetus. This approach increases the accuracy and validity of the tool and facilitates the examiner's understanding and interpretation of the score.