August 23, 2008,
J.O. asks from Ogden, UT on August 19, 2008
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?
S.P. answers from Salt Lake City on August 20, 2008
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.
M.S. answers from Cheyenne on August 19, 2008
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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S.L. answers from Fort Collins on August 20, 2008
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,
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!
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M.I. answers from Denver on August 19, 2008
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!
A.S. answers from Boise on August 20, 2008
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.
C.M. answers from Provo on August 20, 2008
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!!
D.C. answers from Boise on August 20, 2008
well have they checked to see if maybe the baby could be a little person, sometimes dwarfs dont grow the same even in uterain.
A.P. answers from Denver on August 20, 2008
You are understandably nervous. I would get a second opinion with a specialist. I'll send positive thoughts your way.
S.M. answers from Casper on August 20, 2008
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.
H.B. answers from Denver on August 20, 2008
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!