46 answers

Belly Is Measuring Smaller than Expected

Hello~

I am 34 weeks pregnant and was told by my doctor that I have been measuring smaller that I should. Usually by 2-3 inches. He sent me to another ultra sound to get the measurment of how she is growing and I was told everything is normal. I am a very petti 5 feet and weighing at 140lbs today. I have been told that my belly is really small and that really scares me too. I am afraid something is wrong with the baby. Has anybody had this issue or am I just getting nervous?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I remember being told by the doctor that my belly was 2" too small when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was scary to hear that. She was (and still is) perfect. We did another ultrasound and she was just uniformly small. She was 6lbs 5oz and it made the birth easy.
Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same thing happen with both of my kids. Dr. told me that the baby could just be moving lower in to the pelvis. Everything also looked good on ultrasound and both of my kids were born on time and very plump

Best wishes

Do not worry the same thing happened to me with all my 4 children . They are all happy and health! good Luck!!

More Answers

Congratulations on your baby! Belly sizes during pregnancy are different for everyone. It depends on your body type, how you are carrying the baby, etc.. If the ultra sound came back and said that your baby was healthy and everything looked normal then please do not be scared. The ultra sound techs know what they are doing.

6 weeks left to go! Good for you.
Be well, be happy and love your precious gift.
~M.

1 mom found this helpful

I remember being told by the doctor that my belly was 2" too small when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was scary to hear that. She was (and still is) perfect. We did another ultrasound and she was just uniformly small. She was 6lbs 5oz and it made the birth easy.
Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

The measurement of your belly has absolutely nothing to do with whether your baby is doing alright or not! It is influenced by your built and more or less bodyfat can make it difficult to measure the fundus correctly.
If the measurement is WAY off, it's a good idea to have an U/S to check for too much or too little fluid, multiples (earlier in the pregnancy) or uterine growths like fibroids - but it generally says very little about the size of the baby.
I am very surprised your doctor made a big issue out of it - you should talk to him again about your concerns. And since the U/S was fine, you can stop worrying.

Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy.

1 mom found this helpful

The same thing happened to me too - seems pretty common from all the posts on here! At 34 wks I was measuring small, I totally freaked but the ultrasound was fine and 6 + weeks later out came a perfectly healthy 7 lb 8 oz baby boy. It could be that her head is already engaging in your pelvis or her legs are curled up or the way that you're carrying her. Don't rely on medicine to be an exact science. Also, your baby is still growing in there and you / her will probably gain some more in the coming weeks. Given my height I was on pretty similar weight track too, it just means less to lose afterward ; )

I know it's hard, but try not to worry!

I think your doctor should be more encouraging and is probably just running extra tests. During the lasts weeks of pregnancy, I asked everyone to just "pray" for a happy, healthy baby. And really, all the cute clothes and the matching decor mean nothing. All you want is to meet your beautiful baby. So just focus on meeting her and how strong you are and how well you are going to do in labor. Trust your intuition, you're going to be using it a lot over the next 18 years! If you feel that baby is the right size for your body and you are eating well and not scrimping on portions or worrying about your weight, then you and baby are going to come thru with flying colors. Just make sure you have plenty of food on hand for after she arrives and take all the help you can. Good luck and know that all the strength and wisdom of all the mothers in the universe is with you.

Hi H.,
I was small my entire pregnancy and my belly didn't even really pop out until 7 months. My son was almost 8 lbs when he was born so don't worry; looks can be deceiving. All women carry babies differently and it is normal to feel anxiety about your baby's health in the womb. If you've had the ulrasound then relax and be happy you look small!
; )
Kitty

Hi!
Exact same thing happened to me with my second child (I am 5'2" and on my delivery day I weighed 132). Every ultrasound I had - the doctor sent me once a month - yielded normal results...turns out I was just all baby because my son was born two days after his due date and was a healthy 9 pounds.

I know how you are feeling, I hope that this helps!

*K

The same exact thing happened to me. I was around 33-34 weeks and was measuring smaller than expected. (I'm also small--about 5 ft. 2 in.) So, they sent me in to get an ultrasound and everything was fine. People did keep telling me I looked small, which annoyed me. Anyway, I had Evan 3 days late, he weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was perfectly normal. Now, I have a beautiful 4 month old. I know what you feel like, I was worried about everything too, still am. I hope it helps to hear other people's experiences. Good luck!

i wouldn't worry about it. Every pregnancy is different and some people don't get large. I am taller, but people constantly tell me I don't look large enough to be 37 weeks.
It sounds like they did the ultrasound and measurements as a precaution, but they didn't find anything. The ultrasound would pick up most things. More than likely you will either have a smaller baby and maybe easier birth or an easier time losing the baby weight. Think of the positives. Continue with good nutrition up to the end...i know it is easy to get lazy but you still want a healthy baby.

I always measured small even when I popped out a 9 lb 2 ounce baby. If they say the baby is fine I would try and not worry about it too much. You may just have a smaller baby in there and that is ok too. I know it is hard not to worry, but it sounds like you are doing all you can. My sister in law is only 4' 11 and always looked huge! At 5 months looked like she was due tomorrow and they always induced her early thinking she would have a very big baby and the largest she had was 7 pounds and the other two were barely 6. So I think all our bodies are different and we all carry babies in a different way.

My belly consistently measured small by 3-4 cm after about my 30th week. i also gained less weight than average. i am an average size person, but I guess you could say I have a small frame. Anyhow, as long as your amniotic fluid is not low (they can tell this by your ultrasound) your baby should be fine. i had a healthy 7lb 9 oz girl!

I had the same thing happen with both of my kids. Dr. told me that the baby could just be moving lower in to the pelvis. Everything also looked good on ultrasound and both of my kids were born on time and very plump

Best wishes

I never looked like I was 9m pregnant, even when I was at 37 weeks I maybe looked 6-7m preg. It took until 6m before people really noticed I was preg!! I am not petite (5'8" 165lbs) but I have a long torso and things just sort of "spread out". My baby was born at 37wks and was only 5 lbs 11 oz (another reason my belly was small) but she was perfectly healthy and is now a thriving 14m old.

If your baby is healthy per the ultrasound and you are not having any health issues I wouldn't worry about it. Like everyone has said before, all baby bellies are different.

You know, my belly measured (and looked!) small through out my pregnancy. People were constantly commenting on how small i looked. However, the ultra-sound, like yours, suggested that things were normal. In the end, i delivered a 8lb 2 oz. little girl, who was fine and healthy.

I think people carry a bit differently, so some people just stay small, and some people get large. There are, of course, real problems that can be associated with a small belly. However, the ultrasound would have picked them up (growth restriction of low amniotic fluid are easily measured this way).

I'd say, listen to your doc, and sit back, and relax.

Hi I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with my fifth child. With every pregnancy I have been told in the sixth or seventh month that my baby is measuring small. They then schedule an ultrasound that confirms that although everything is normal the baby's growth has slowed considerably from earlier ultrasounds. All my kids have been born late and weighed in between 6 lbs 15oz and 7 lbs 15 oz. Doctors explained after my second child that my kids start of growing at the 95% and by the end of pregnancy are in only the 15%- 25%. In addition my uterus tilts backward so when the doctor measures they are not being able to measure to the full height. This is also part of why I always seem to measure small.
At my last appointment I was 27 and a half weeks and of course measured small. So this next Tuesday I have my ultrasound to make sure everything is okay.

Do not worry the same thing happened to me with all my 4 children . They are all happy and health! good Luck!!

It might just be how you are carrying. I don't want to scare you, but my latest measured 2-3 cm small for my due date and he was still born at 10lbs, 1.8oz. My belly also looked bigger by sight than it was measuring. How you look and measure don't necesserily reflect how big/small baby is. No worries. Your uterus may be tilted slightly or you may be carrying really close to your spine... No worries. If your u/s was fine, things are prob great!! Have fun, don't worry, and good luck.

My belly measured small, too. My theory is that since I am proportioned such that my torso is longer and my legs are shorter, there was just more room in my abdominal cavity and baby didn't need to grow out so much. Also, I did not experience any shortness of breath bc of baby pushing up on my diaphragm, and I think it's for the same reason. My baby was fine. Still is.
Now, I am admittedly not the easiest patient to deal with bc I'm in the healthcare industry, but oh my goodness it would make me so mad to go to my appts and they would constantly be like, OH, your belly's too small, OH, we need to take another ultrasound, OH, your blood sugar is a little high, OH we need to take another ultrasound... Because I knew my baby was fine and not everyone fits into the box, and I don't think it's good for the baby to be constantly ultrasounded.
Anyway. Don't give in to the fear tactics! You know best, and keep strong and healthy baby in your mind! Pay attention to your baby, be super-happy and relax about it!

Hi H.,

The same thing happened to me around the same time and my son was born a healthy 6 lbs 9 oz. I was really worried, too he was even born 3 weeks early and everything turned out just fine. In fact you might find my same question on here and I got a lot of reassuring answers. The funny thing is he is a big boy now he weighs a whopping 18lbs. Don't worry about it to much and just enjoy every moment of being pregnant!

J.

Hello,
I was carrying my baby at your age (now 31 and baby almost a year - on the 22nd) anyways, we carried small too. I heard he tucked back into me - closer to my back than to my belly - so almost the whole pregnancy I was little... It wasn't till almost the very end that people could tell. Ryan came out strong and healthy. Weighed 7 1/2 pounds.... so, I say, don't worry yourself needlessly - if everyone is saying the baby is growing fine - believe them!

Take care of yourself and your youngin... I am sure it's just first time jitters!

You are just getting worked up. Because you are so petite it could just be that your baby will be as well. If everything is showing up fine in the ultrasound as being normal and progressing on target, the brain is measuring the correct size, as well as the lungs then the doctor will see that. Don't stress, your body may not be able to produce those HUGE babies and you may just have a sweet little 6lb baby. I however was blessed with an 8lb 6oz girl for my first and I am 31 weeks along with our second and I am measuring at about 33-34 weeks, so I will be having another sworthy child. But I am also 5'10" and weigh quite a bit more ;)and my husband is 6'4", so we have future basketball players. Good luck and don't stress.

Hi H.,

Nobody knows your own body like you do. Doctors can't always predict or determine what's going on - had I not had such a great doctor with my third, there's a more than a good chance she wouldn't have made it. I'm very tall and my doc expected me to have a much bigger baby. He was so concerned that I wound up having non-stress tests weekly at the end. They couldn't quite tell what the issue was - just that they didn't like seeing a baby this small in a woman so tall.

In the end, our third was a mere 5lbs. full term and, apparently, I had the 'smallest placenta' the doctor who delivered her had ever seen (my doc was so great - we heard him hollering in the hallway because he had instructed them to call him, even if he wasn't the doctor on call - he wanted to be there - and they hadn't called him - he was NOT pleased - that's the kind of doctor I believe in, but I digresss...!). To my understanding, our baby had basically been starving through the final months of my pregnancy - only getting so much nutrition, the limit of which was determined by a very small placenta.

So - I guess the best advice I can offer is to do what YOU can - stay focussed on not getting stressed (over this or anything), eat well, pamper yourself and share all of your concerns with your doctor, as you try to learn all you can. That was my approach and it gave me great comfort, because, in life, I get that there are not guarantees. My thought at the time was, if I were to lose this child, I wanted to know that I couldn't have done more or better, on behalf of our baby. Fortunately, but for some challenging moments I hadn't experienced in previous deliveries, all went well...truly, thanks to my great doctor. If he wouldn't have permitted us to stay in the hospital earlier than normal (they usually send moms home at the point I was admitted), I feel certain, without proper medical people on hand, all things considered, we would have had an extremely small chance of such a positive outcome with delivery.

In the end, my hope for you is that you'll be able to look back and know that you did everything in your power to have a healthy baby. Every baby and every mother and every delivery is unique. It would be unwise for anyone to assume all is happy-clappy just because 6 out of 10 moms said not to worry - or, vice-versa, that it's a scary worry because 6 out of 10 moms said it was for them. The reality is, YOU won't have my story or the story of any other mom giving you advice here - your story will be yours, alone. So I hope you will treasure every moment to take good care of yourself and take every opportunity to communicate with your doctor completely.

I will be thinking positive thoughts for a healthy outcome for you and your baby!

Kindly,
T. B.

I measured small throughout my pregnancy and I am an average size person. I think everyone carries different and if the ultrasound measurements came back good, then you are probably just fine, as is the baby. I carried my daughter toward my back and she also was small. I delivered at 36 weeks and she was 5lbs 12oz. Just a petite little thing. But perfectly healthy. So, unless your doctor is concerned, don't worry too much

The doctor is just taking precautionary measures with the ultrasounds. Really, no need to worry! I measured 2-3 inches small every time and all 5 of my kids were absolutely normal birthweights and extremely healthy. They ranged from 6#10oz - 8#10oz And I'm 5'7"! I'll bet you had a very "toned" tummy to start with? Regardless, the baby will find the room it needs to grow and be just fin. :-)

Hi H.,

I am like you. I am a very small person, and my belly always measured small. It was only because I had smaller babies. They weren't so small that they were unhealthy, they were just not 8lb. babies. 5 out of my 6 pregnancies were that way. All 6 of my children are healthy. If the doctor's thought something was wrong, they would have told you. I don't believe you have anything to worry about. You probably won't have an 8 pound baby though!

C.

I measured big with my first two babies so when I started measuring small with my third I was surprised. It turns out in my case that I had miscalculated my due date by about as many inches as I was measuring small. Every woman carries differently and though I was consistently measuring 2-3 inches smaller( we didn't discover the due date issue until I appeared to be "overdue" by three weeks, then we started crunching numbers:)) my midwives never expressed concern because baby had great heartones, movement( tone), and growth( midwives palpitate the belly every appointment to see what's happening inside:))

I know this is a ridiculous request for a pregnant Mama but try not to worry over much . Relax and enjoy the fact that you don't have to try and carry so much extra bulk on that itty bitty frame of yours:) Baby is doing fine, and you'll know if that changes.

bless your heart, H.- the doctor has said the baby is fine- what is so is that your body is holding baby IN -- sounds ideal to me ( if the doctor were saying the baby was small- that of course would be very different - but as long as the baby is a good size- count your blessings that your
body is reducing stretch marks, you are really close to being done- many, many blessings to you and your family
love,
old Mom

This happened to me also. I had several ultrasounds with my first pregnancy for the same reason.

He was born 9 days late and weighted 7 lbs 14 oz.

My doctor was AMAZED that he was so big. She kept saying, "he must have been hiding in there....."

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Measuring the front of the belly the way they do is only one way for them to montior size and growth. They don't really take into consideration the body size/type of the mommies.

Hope this helps.

I'm 30 also...I have 3 boys, ages 7, 5, and alsmot 3....

As hard as it is ...try not to worry! I just had my first child at age 33. I measured smaller than expected from 34 weeks till birth (5 days late). I too am a small woman. What had occurred for me was that my daughter dropped into position which caused my measurements to seem smaller. I had an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid as well as her size. This caused me a lot of, unneeded, anxiety and stress because she was born weighing 7 lbs 5 oz. Unless the doctor finds a reason for the smaller measurement... don't worry. Your sweet baby is safe and growing stronger every week. Congratulations and get ready for the greatest blessing! Enjoy that last few weeks of pregnancy, it truly is a special time with your child.

It all has to do with the size of your baby, if you are petite you will probably have a small belly.

I struggle on the other side of the spectrum. I am 5 foot 3, and have enormous babies, by my third trimester I was measuring 3-4 inches bigger than I should. With my first I was induced 4 weeks early and he didn't fit in the birth canal, so the doc had to do a C-section, and even though they did an ultrasound to estimate his weight (they estimated around 7 lbs.) the incision the doctor made was too small and she had to vacuum him out of my c-section. My son was 9 lbs. 5 oz. Then, because he was a month early, he had to go to the Special Care Nursery or NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) until he learned to eat. Boys don't develop the "sucking" technique in the womb until around 38 weeks.

So, to make a long story short, as long as the doctors say your baby is healthy, don't worry about it's size. My petite friend doesn't get very big and has healhy little 5-6 lb. babies.

And with what people say, when your pregnant people don't seem to think much about what they are saying. I remember going to church and people saying, "WOW! Your enormous! You must be due any day..." to which I would reply, "Nope, still got 2 more months." You just gotta grin and bear it and know they don't mean any harm by what they are saying.

Good Luck!

I'm sorry that your doctor has made you worry with the comments that he made. It is a variation of normal for the uterus to measure 1-2 centimeters in either direction. It is just one variable used to determine fetal growth. As long as the baby has been growing overall, and there are no other signs of concern, you should be rest assured that this is a normal growth for your baby and your body. I hope that you will be able to get the support you need from your care provider. I would recommend reading healthy normal birth stories as you prepare for labor. My favorite book is Ina May's Guild to Childbirth. I also highly recommend the documentary "The Business of Being Born" which can be found on Netflix. Good luck with everything!

With my first pregnancy, it took forever for me to "pop out" and show (mostly b/c I have a retroverted uterus--it leans to my back) and then nearing the end of the pregnancy I too was measuring small. As a first-timer, it did create a lot of worry and anxiety for my hubby and I, and I also needed a second ultrasound to confirm that amniotic fluid and baby size were all okay. They were, and I gave birth to a healthy 6 lb, 9 oz baby.

Everyone grows differently (you and the baby), so try not to worry so much and instead create positive feelings that your baby will grow to be the perfect size for your body. Enjoy that new baby you will be meeting soon! (congratulations!)

(And on a side note, I'm 34 weeks pregnant with baby#2 now, and I popped out earlier, and I'm now measuring right on target...it's easier for the uterus to grow quicker in subsequent pregnancies. It's been a blessing not to have to worry about size this time around.)

Don't worry about it. Babies and Bellies come in all shapes and sizes. you might just carry a little more compactly than others. Since you have had another ultrasound that showed she is growing fine you can relax. you wouldn't be doing your baby any favors by worrying. just make sure you continue to eat nutriciously so she is getting what she needs. My sister and I carried very differently. She had babies that weighed 5.5lbs and 7lbs. I had babies that were 9lbs and 10lbs. All are perfectly healthy.
Best thing you can do for your baby is eat right and avoid unnecessary stress.
Take care and have a great birth.

If your baby is healthy and normal, you don't need to worry. I did look just fatter, not pregnant until the 9th month, than you were able to tell that I might be pregnant. My neighbour who sees me almost every day (our doors are facing each other) thought that I was baby sitting for someone until one day she asked me about the baby. She never noticed that I was pregnant. I did some swimming every day and there were guys in the swimming pool that kept flirting with me. I used a swimming suit that looked like a little dress. They make them for bigger women. Yes, you have no reasons to worry. You will have a normal, beautiful, healthy baby.

If the ultrasound was normal you have nothing to worry about. I measured on the small side for many weeks and worried about this quite a bit. My doctor said that as long as you are growing, it is fine. It becomes a concern if you are not growing at a normal rate, but since you had an ultrasound, all sounds good. BTW- I ended up having a ten pound baby!!!

I am also petite at 5'1 and have always measured small by a few inches. (This is my third pregnancy!) Every baby has been completely fine. My newest midwife has said that sometimes petite women just don't have as much space to grow, and as long as the baby's heartbeat and measurements are good, there is really no reason to worry.
What I have come to learn with the past two pregnancies is quiet a few doctors get worried with the slightest thing when pregnant because they don't want the liability should something be wrong. They tend to run a lot of tests that aren't necessary, because you measure small or the baby seems small. As long as every test has come out positive, chances are things are okay the doctor is just being extra cautious!

PS - Both my boys were average sized 7lbs 14oz 21.5 inches and 7lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches... even with a fundal height two and three inches smaller than "normal."

Same thing happened to me & he is perfectly fine. The ultrasound is fine, so don't worry... I think I got 5 ultrasounds beforeI was convinced that he was okay.... I'm small too, so don't worry & have fun with your soon to be not-so-little-one.

Hi - I was in the same situation that you are in. I measured small my entire pregnancy and was also sent for another ultrasound at 33 weeks to make sure everything was ok - which it was. On the ultrasound they actually noted that the femur measurements indicated that the baby was taller than average. I was told that I just had a body type that seemed to hide the baby. My son was born at 38.5 weeks weighing 7 lbs 2 oz. and 21 inches long. I hope that helps ease your mind a little.

There is always something to worry about, isn't there? Some things to think about, though:
1) How you look on the outside is no indicator of how big the baby is. I looked pretty small with my first and she was a respectable 8 lbs.
2) There is room for variation on those measurements. They are a guideline.
3) If you are eating a healthy, varied diet your baby should be getting everything he or she needs.
4) Sometimes there is something wrong with a baby. Instead of being anxious about it, do a mental exercise where you think about what you would do if you had a sick baby. Who would support you? How would you feel? Who would you talk to? It's not morbid, it makes you feel more capable and prepared instead of just generally anxious and worried.
5) Most likely your baby is beautiful, healthy and will be ready to be born in 4-8 weeks. Try have trust in your ability to make a healthy baby!

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I measured small by 2" my whole last trimester...they worried also, saying that the baby was going to be small (like 5 lbs) she ended up being 6 lbs 8 oz which is "small" but still close to average. I kept telling them I felt a big baby...lol because she was pushing my ribs so much. I am also only 5' 2" and weighted only 145lbs at the end of pregnancy started at 100lbs. They never did an ultra sound at the end for me because everything with the baby other then belly size seemed fine heart rate, movement... From what I understand it is hard to get an accurate measurement the last month anyways via ultra sound so that is why my doctors didn't bother. They can however check fluid levels which may be low but I would bet that it is just your small size. Try not to worry to much!

I had this with both of my kids (measuring "small for dates") and had to have additional ultrasounds for both of them. My daughter was 6 days late and was 6 lbs, 13 oz. My son was 5 days early and was 7 lbs, 14 oz.. Some people just carry their babies this way. Like you, I was always 4 or so centimeters "small" later in my pregnancies. I'm also smallish (at 5 feet, 4 inches, and about 120 lbs regularly, and 155 lbs at the end of my pregnancies.) I wouldn't worry. You'll have the ultrasound and find out what you need to know--which is very likely that everything's perfectly fine with your baby.

When I was pregnant my first time, with twins, I was also not very big. The babies turned out to be larger than anyone expected. When carrying them I was actually carrying them up under my ribs. I wouldn't let it worry you, just remember that you are being blessed with a wonderful thing and in the end it will all be just fine. There are so many things to worry about that if you worried about it all you would only stess yourself out.

This happened with me too, don't worry. They said it at every appt! I ended up getting extra ultra sounds, so i have a ton of those pictures in my daughters baby book. My daughter is normal and healthy. I don't know why they even go by tummy size since everyone carries differently! It doesn't mean anything. Since it's your first pregnancy you worry more because you don't know what to expect but I've heard this a ton of times.....so don't worry:)
-B.

Some people just don't get very big. My mother only looked 5 months pregnant at full term with her first child, the doctors didn't believe she was 9 months when she went to deliver. My sister was born small (just under 6lbs), but she was completely fine otherwise. Also I know another pregnant girl that is 21 weeks along and she looks like I did at 15 weeks.

I say get an ultra-sound to make sure the baby is healthy and then relax.

I have three children and the third one measured small throughout my last trimester. I think if your Dr. is not worried then you have nothing to worry about. It just ended up for me that my last was my baby that weighed the least (7lb., 7oz) not small by any means. I think it is also the way you carry the baby, maybe they are further toward your spine as opposed to hanging out over your waistband (I've had both). Really, until the Dr. worries, you shouldn't, you have enough on your mind as it is. I remember constantly worrying about everything and reading everything and becoming hypochondriac over whatever I read in "what to expect when you're expecting". Those books are a blessing and a curse! Good luck to you and I bet everything is fine, you'll just have a petite baby like yourself.
-T.

I measured small with both my babies. I was 3 cm small for both of them (my midwife never measured my belly using inches... so you might want to double check that... my understanding is that the cm should = how many weeks along you are) and my midwife guessed nearly a pound under what my older daughter weighed. When I reminded her how off she had been with my older, she got my younger's weight almost right on!

My girls were nearly 8 pounds (my midwife said she doubted my first would be more than 7) and just under 8.5 pounds. So they were both good-sized despite my small measurements and they were/are perfectly healthy and I had two uneventful home births.

So you're probably doing just fine! Some of us just hide our babies more than others do. Best wishes with your birth and the rest of your pregnancy!
~B.

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