27 answers

Baby Not Growing

I am 34 weeks pregnant and my baby is growing very slowly. I went to the doctor yesterday and she has only grown a couple days in size where she should have grown a couple weeks. He did an ultasound and he can't see any reason she wouldn't be growing. I also did an non-stress test and her heart rate was great and she was very active. He check the fluid and blood flow. He says she is very healthy just isn't growing very well. It makes me a little nervous and I worry about her. Has any one had this happen to them?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter didn't grown her last month either. She was 5.15lb when she was born, but very healthy. She is still a little small and doesn't gain weight easily. I think some kids are just meant to be small.
Don't stress, if the Dr. say's everything is ok, then you be ok.

My son's growth slowed and almost stopped completely between 32-34 weeks. We had the ultrasounds and NSTs too. Because his growth increased, they induced me at 39 weeks. My son was born at a small 5lbs 8oz, but was perfectly healthy and had no problems at all after his birth. They still don't know why he stopped growing, but we did discover the placenta was very small. He is still small for his age but is very happy and healthy. I would try not to worry about it too much, the doctors will keep a close eye on her and let you know if anything concerning comes up. Best of luck and congratulations.

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J.,

There are a couple of things to consider. First, babies grow at their own rate. Although there is an average, the nature of averages means that perfectly healthy people fall on either end of the spectrum. That doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem. Second, the technology that doctors use to check growth, especially ultrasound are NOT necessarily reliable. Ultrasound estimates of weight are commonly off by as much as a pound in either direction. They are notoriously unreliable at the end of pregnancy, when baby is getting squashed up in the uterus. Even fundal height measurements can easily be "off" the norm, especially once baby drops down into the lower pelvis. Basically, as his head engages down into your pelvis, more of his body is between your hips and less of it is sticking forward.

It sounds like your baby is checking out very healthy, and it doesn't sound like you have too much to worry about. My biggest concern would be an early induction, "just in case." Inductions carry their own risk, and I would strongly encourage you to do some research about induction, pitocin and the risks of ceasarean section surgery, just in case that possibility presents itself. Unfortunately, many doctors have an underlying mindset that mom's body is a dangerous place for baby to be, and the sooner they can be safely delivered, the better it is. The first risk to baby in an induced birth is prematurity. This has become so common that they have had to coin a phrase for it "iatrogenic (meaning doctor-induced) prematurity." Basically doctors induce birth when they think the pregnancy is far enough along, only to discover that the baby has the symptoms of a preemie, that he was obviously unready to be born. A chemically induced birth is much more painful for mother than a natural birth. An epidural may or may not relieve that pain - many women find it is only partially effective. A chemically induced birth is also MUCH more stressful on your baby. Natural contractions are rhythmical. They start slowly, build in intensity and then come down and you (and your baby) have a break until the next contraction. Pitocin-induced contractions are much harder, faster, and often right on top of each other. Baby is more likely to have a stressed heart-rate, which may in turn lead to a cesarean. Finally, inductions are not always successful. Once your water is broken, you typically have 24 hours to give birth, or again, you are looking at a cesarean section. While C/S certainly have their place in a true emergency, I would warn you to do your own research and be cautious about starting down a path that may well lead to major abdominal surgery.

At this point, the best thing you can do for your baby is to make sure you are eating very well. Eat as many whole foods as you can - lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies and meat. Protein is EXTREMELY important for your baby's growth. Protein is the building block of muscle. Some birth specialists recommend 80-100 grams of protein per day. I ate plenty of lean meat, eggs, and dairy (which also provides calcium). Now is not the time to worry about low-fat options. Your baby also need plenty of healthy fats for her brain development, so think about choosing whole dairy rather than low-fat versions. At the end of the day, when I hadn't met my protein requirements, I often finished my night with a smoothie. I blended milk, fruit and a scoop of protein powder. Good quality protein supplements are available at your local grocery or health store, and can add 20-30 grams of protein in one serving. Just remember that everything you eat is going towards building your baby, and try to choose foods accordingly.

Best of luck,
S.

PS - An antecdote... my best friend only gained a few pounds during her entire pregnancy. She is super-tiny, and she wasn't all that big. Everyone (including her doctor) swore that she would have a small baby. Her doctor estimated about 6 lb at birth. When she delivered, her daugter was 8lb 14oz!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
Both of my sons were diagnosed with Intra Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) due to a small/defective placenta and were born very small (2lbs, 14 oz and 4 lbs, 9 oz.). I also had PIH with both of them so that could be a factor as well. IUGR can be diagnosed with a series of ultrasounds and since your Dr. is keeping an eye on you I wouldn't worry. Even though both of my boys were tiny at birth, they are doing great now and shouldn't have any ill effects. Good luck and listen to your intuition, if something doesn't seem right call your doctor, that's what they're there for!

I had the same thing happen with my first pregnancy. I would never measure past 35 weeks. They told me to expect about a 5lb baby because I was measuring small, but he was born at 6 lb 15 ozs. I think my body just topped out and even though my body couldn't grow anymore, the baby still gained. He was perfectly healthy. If the ultrasound and stress test don't show any problems, then I wouldn't worry! Good Luck.

My baby girl did the same thing. She was a week and a half behind in growth even at birth. She was born 3 weeks early and only weighed 4 lbs 12 oz. She should have been close to 6 lbs. My doctor said he couldn't give an explanation why she was so small. She is now 7 months old and she is about 2 lbs lighter than her brothers were at this age but she is fine. She looks great, eats great and deosn't look like she was only 4 lbs 12 oz. She came home from the hospital 2 1/2 weeks later weighing 5 lbs 2 oz. They grow more inside you. I wouldn't worry too much if she is only a few days behind. Mine was a week and a half and she is okay. If you are worried then let them do some tests if your doctor recommends it because sometimes our peace of mind is worth the extra effort. It won't do you or the baby any good for you to worry so if some tests will help you relax then I say have the tests. Good luck!!

well have they checked to see if maybe the baby could be a little person, sometimes dwarfs dont grow the same even in uterain.

You are understandably nervous. I would get a second opinion with a specialist. I'll send positive thoughts your way.

i'm not saying they are wrong, but also remember that it is hard to gauge size with ultrasound this late in the pregnancy. My doctor said I was measuring small at this stage and sent me in for several ultrasounds up until the end and my son came out 8 lbs 5 oz and gained a pound the very first week, and every week thereafter.

you might just have a little girl, too. someone's gotta be at the bottom of the size scales. :D

The other things sound good so all you can do is keep eating as healthy as you can and get plenty of rest and exercise.

If your doctor says everything is ok, and they are keeping tabs on everything, then try not to worry (I know telling that to a pregnant person is silly, I worried over everything). Remember children of all ages, born and unboarn go through growth spurts, my daughter had a huge growth spurt at 36 weeks. Do the best you can eating a well balanced diet with lots of protien (I had to drink protien shakes when I was pregnant per doctor's orders) get plently of rest, sleep on your left side and let nature take its course. Good luck!

Hello J.,

When I was 36 weeks pregnant I was measuring as if I was only 32 week pregnant person. Immediately my doctor sent me to have a ultrasound. I was diagnosed with I.U.G.R., which stands for Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation. Basically my placenta stopped working and my son wasn't getting enough food or oxygen. For the last two weeks of my pregnancy, I had to go to the hospital three times a week and have ultra sounds done to check my amniotic fluid to make sure it measured it a 10. Mine never did. Also, they check for the activity of my son. Also, during that time, I was on strick bed rest and I had to lay on my left side and do fetal kick counts every hour. I don't want to scare you, but it is very serious. If they wouldn't have taken my son, when they did, I wouldn't have him today. Just so you know, he was 5 lbs. 5 ozs & 20 1/2 inches at birth and when we brought him from the hospital he dropped to 4 lbs 15 ozs., but by his 2 week check up, he was 7lbs 2 ozs. Babies who are IUGR, do not thrive inside, they thrive outside. Trust yourself and your body and go to the hospital if you feel something isn't right. If you want to email with more questions, please do so.

H.

Make sure you're getting enough protein.

Consult an certified nutricianist or registered dietician (same thing).

This sounds exactly like my pregnancy. I am due the first part of October and I have only put on 3lbs since July. The baby is very active though and my midwife says that everything checks out fine.

I would suggest that you just monitor your health and the baby's and let nature do what it does best.

Good Luck and congratulations : )

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had similar concerns about her. I measured 3 weeks small for the 7th and 8th month of pregnancy. The doctors were concerned so they did an ultrasound on me and the non-stress test. The ultrasound showed nothing wrong and that she was larger than the measurements showed. The non-stress test also had good results. My body caught up to the size it was supposed to be by the time I had just a couple of weeks left. And my daughter was born 7lbs2oz and 19in, a very healthy size. She is still very lean at not quite 20lbs at 15 months and tall for her age.

I was worried about her too when they wanted to check on her. I always felt her feet in my ribs all the way to labor. I think she just spent most of her time sprawled out in my belly, she still does that when she is sleeping. And since she was so stretched out it made the measurements funny.

Doctors try to make it seem like they know everything about a baby's development, but they don't. They are designed to look for problems. If you are not a textbook case for them doctors will look for something wrong. Your baby is fine and is continuing to grow. It is just like the growth charts in doctors offices. Unless there is a rapid change in percentile that keeps changing or your child stops growing completely, don't worry about it.

Please don't worry about what your close-minded doctor says, your baby IS just fine.

Like a few of the other moms have stated it is next to impossible to determine the exact weight of a baby in the womb. It is an educated guess at best. My son was on the opposite end of the spectrum when I was pregnant, he always measured 2 weeks ahead on size from the time I was 20 weeks. I actually had to go on bed rest at 34 weeks and have an US and NST done twice a week and he always measured big. The day I had him I went in for my US that morning and they guessed him to be 9lb 2oz so we opted for a c-section to avoid any complications of a large baby. He actually weighed in at 7lb 12oz, big difference. Usually when you have an US they tell you it can be off by as much as 2lb either way so keep that in mind.
That being said if you are really concerned I would have your doctor run more tests or insist they send you to a neonatal specialist to make sure everything is alright.
Good luck I'm sure everything will turn out fine.

My son wouldn't grow for a few weeks and then catch up. At 34wks he measured 31 and at 35wks he measured 35. He was a two vessel cord and the dr originally guessed that he would quite small. Especially since I was 6lb at birth and my boyfriend was 7. Our son was 9lb 4.3oz.

Guessing and ultrasounds are not always right- trust your mommy gut and your doctor!

That happened with my 2nd child. I'm 5'10 average build, so it did seem odd. He was never on the growth charts (which can be misleading because of the mathmatical process that creates the 'norm') anyway... the arc followed a normal progression so we didn't worry. He nursed well, then ate well. He started catching up in height in about 4th grade.

He's now 16, he's 5'11" and weighs about 150. He's VERY strong... he's on the wrestling team and has does well when he has to wrestle in a higher weight class.

The ultrasounds with my 16 yo, 3 yo and 6 month old were all off on the weight prediction. My 3 yo was bigger (and older) than predicted and my 6 month old was smaller than predicted. Ultrasounds are amazing but they aren't always accurate.

My advice is this: you can't know until you know.

There is a Swedish proverb: Worrying gives small things a big shadow.

And I think it was Eistein who said something to the effect of: 99% of the things I worried about never came to fruition.

Just love your babies.

My son's growth slowed and almost stopped completely between 32-34 weeks. We had the ultrasounds and NSTs too. Because his growth increased, they induced me at 39 weeks. My son was born at a small 5lbs 8oz, but was perfectly healthy and had no problems at all after his birth. They still don't know why he stopped growing, but we did discover the placenta was very small. He is still small for his age but is very happy and healthy. I would try not to worry about it too much, the doctors will keep a close eye on her and let you know if anything concerning comes up. Best of luck and congratulations.

Please get into a maternal fetal medcine specialist (probably where the non-stress test was performed) and request a bio-physical profile.
My OB sends all her patients here and they were able to detect around 20-24 weeks that my son seamed small for his age. he continued to "not grow" during each check up and they became more and more concerned. We found out that our son had IUGR (Intra Uterine Growth Restriction) which basically means we don't know why he didn't grow (and we still dont). They did a bio-phyiscal profile every other day to monitor the baby and one day detected he was in stress and that the blood flow was going from the baby not TO the baby. We had an emergency c-section at 30 wks and delivered a tiny 1 lb 3 oz miracle.
Were it not for the Doctor's monitoring, I have no doubt that I would have lost the baby within a few days and delivered a stillborn child. He is a miracle and is doing terrific today. Get in ASAP and be an advocate for yourself if you feel anything is not right.
Good luck!!

My doctor was concerned about my daughter's size on my due date. She did an ultrasound and the placenta looked fine, she had enough fluid around her. She was just a little small for being full term. My doctor decided to try to induce me a few days later, but when I went in to get induced I was already in labor. My daughter ended up being 5 lbs 11 oz at birth (they weighed her with a diaper and beanie on), they called her a GSA baby (Small for gestational age) They did tests on the placenta and everything was normal. The placenta was small and the umbilical cord was small. I am only 5 ft and about 110 lbs. So she was small because of my size. Anyway she is a healthy baby girl, 4 mnths old now, and she is growing very quickly. She is in about the 20th percentile on the growth chart but she is very healthy.
My situation isn't exactly like yours, but similar. And everything turned out fine.

It sounds like your baby is doing just fine. Ultrasound is pretty inaccurate at the end of a pregnancy. From weeks 29-40 ultrasound can be 3 weeks off for your due date. (www.drapplebaum.com; see "ultrasound in pregnancy webbook.") If you are still worried, make sure you have a good diet. Getting 80-100 grams of protein plus a balanced diet will make sure you baby grows well & prevent toxemia (also called PIH, preeclampsia). (see Dr. Brewer's site www.blueribbonbaby.org, if it will work)

Number one if your Dr isn't concerned then that is a good sign. My daughter stopped growing well about at 34 weeks, I got preeclampsia at 35 weeks and it got so bad we had to induce at 37 1/2 weeks, she was born 5.5lbs and 19 inches long. She was super healthy however, still is and at 7 years old is still petite but thriving and always been very healthy. She finally just hit 25 percentile in height! :) She is way more bothered being smaller then I am now days, hee hee. I think genetics can play a factor too, as with my son I didn't have preeclampsia but had to have a csection with him at 38 weeks because he was TOO BIG and growing too fast! He is still very tall for his age so I think it just varies. Main thing is her heart, her activity so that sounds like it is good. There is too that possibility that the due date is wrong too, that she may be off by a few weeks.....that does happen.

Make sure you are eating well, enough calories, resting as you should (as much as you can with a 18 mos old) and keep check with your Dr. My preeclampsia was a huge factor on why my daughter quit growing so much, as long as your blood pressure is good then you shouldn't worry too much.
Only about a month to go and your worries will be put at ease...sounds like she is doing great!

I ended up being high risk due to pregnancy induces hypertension. Anyway, I had a biophysical ultrasound about 2 weeks before my daughter was born. At that time, the dr said she was 5 1/2 lbs and between 17-18 in long. I ended up having her two weeks later (drs orders due to too much protein in urine at my appt) and she was born at 18 in and 5 1/2 lbs. So, in the that two weeks, she hadn't grown either. All of my fluids were good and her heart rate was good too. Turns out, after I had delivered her, I over heard the dr telling my mom that my placenta had died and she wasn't getting nutrients. She was born at 36 1/2 weeks. She was VERY little but no problems at all. She didn't have to go into NICU or anything like that and was able to come home when I did. Hope my situation helps to know that even though she is small, it doesn't mean that there are any problems. If you are concerned though, be sure to address them with your doctor and together, you can work something out.

My daughter also stopped growing around 32 weeks. The largest I measured after that date was 34 weeks even at full term. They did several ultrasounds never comming up with an answer for the slow in growth. The doctor was concerned that I would have a very small baby with possible issues. He swore that if she was 5lbs at birth we would be lucky. Well to everyones suprise she came out at 7lbs 14oz and 20 inches long. Now she is in the 95%.
Good luck to you and your family.

When I had my 5th baby this year, she was only 6.2 lbs. on the due date. My other 4 kids were moer than a lb. more than that. My midwife said she was genetically just small as her hair and nails were really long we had to trim nails that first day. I always measured 3 wks. behind too and the did ultrasounds to be sure the babies were growing and all went well. I am over 5 ft. 10 so there is a lot of vertical room to grow a baby. could that be with you too? Blessings.

My daughter didn't grown her last month either. She was 5.15lb when she was born, but very healthy. She is still a little small and doesn't gain weight easily. I think some kids are just meant to be small.
Don't stress, if the Dr. say's everything is ok, then you be ok.

I always measured very small with my son--usually about 3 weeks behind. We had ultrasounds at Memorial (the really high tech ones) as well as stress tests and heart rate monitoring. I delivered at 40 weeks and he weighed a bit under 7 pounds and average height. Get a second opinion and be forthright about demanding tests.

Hi J., I had a similar problem with my son who is almost 4 months now. Have they checked your sugar levels and blood pressure? I had gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure and my son was born very healthy but only 6lbs as to my other two children who were a large 8lbs 5oz and 8lbs 13oz. Don't worry I'm sure you have wonderful Dr.s and hey in a month you will be holding a beautiful little miracle. Congrats and Good Luck!

This in fact did happen to me about 9 1/2 years ago. My daughter had not grown very much at all from the 35th week on. When I didn't go into labor by the 40th week, they finally induced me, and everything was just fine. She was just a small baby, otherwise perfectly healthy and now 9 years old. As long as all of you other tests are coming out normal, she is going to be fine, but remember, your doctors are there for you, and if anything ever changes or you just need reassurance, call your doctor and have them do the tests. That's what they are there for!! I hope this helps. Good luck!!

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