13 answers

Have You Heard of a "Small Fetal Stomach"??? I'm Scared.

Hi moms!
So, I went in for my 20 week ultrasound and all looked well, but the doctor said that the baby seemed to have a small stomach - or in other words, not enough amniotic fluid in the stomach and that it could be due to a problem stemming from the inability or difficulty for the baby to swallow properly. Or he said it could be that the stomach isn't connected properly. Have any of you experienced this in any of your ultrasounds? What has been the outcome? I'm very scared and nervous about this.... They didn't detect this in any of the other ultrasounds (I had one at 17 weeks as well)...
The doctor said that we will monitor the growth in subsequent ultrasounds. I'm going back in for another one in two weeks. Is it possible that maybe it looked small in that ultrasound, but then it will look normal in the follow up ones? Or should I prepare for a disorder and surgery for the baby?
The doctor and the ultrasound tech didn't get too much into it - but I feel that it may be because my 20 week ultrasound was on December 24th - and they maybe didn't want me worried for the holidays???? I don't know - I'm trying to stay positive, but this is a scary thing! Please help - if you've had any experience with this.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi Moms! Thank you all so much for your support as always! I went to my follow up ultrasound today and guess what??? The stomach was a PERFECTLY normal size!!!!!!! There is NOTHING wrong! Huge sigh of relief..... You guys were right that ultrasound isn't always accurate. I can finally relax.

More Answers

Hi K.: My boy was born with a small fetal stomach due to a very rare syndrome called VATER syndrome. His esophagus was actually not connected to the stomach but his trachea was. Unfortunately for me, the ultrasound I had along with amnio, etc., did not show any of this. The only thing shown was a single artery in the umbilical cord to the baby rather than two as normal. The docs told me not to worry however when my baby was born 11/23/06 there were numerous complications but he is now fine at the age of 2 - it took some time and now I am dealing with the small stomach, reflux issues and weight gain but I am not sure whether this would be the same as you are going through right now. My son was 1 in 4000 babies so I believe he is one of a kind but you could bring this up to your doctor and see if they are aware of it.
I think the fact that they have already seen something on the ultrasound shows they are more aware and up to date than my doc was at the time so if you want to chat again, let me know and I can tell you more of what I went through. I did deliver at 37 wks due to fetal distress because there was not enough fluid in the baby as they are supposed to be able to have at 41 wks.
Good luck and my thoughts are with you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,
It is so scary when you hear something might be "wrong" with the baby. I think it is really important that you feel that you have an adequate explanation from your doctor (or a genetic counselor). Please call your doctor and ask that he/she explain it again- otherwise you will worry yourself sick! It is very normal to need to hear the information more than once because we get into such a state of panic when we hear something might be wrong that our comprehension suffers. Talk to your doctor- that's what he/she is there for- and there is no reason for you to try to figure this out on your own.

Good luck!

Hi K.,

I haven't had specific experience with this,but I was told something was wrong with my son and he turned out just fine. He was just showing larger for something than he should have at the time of the ultrasound. Please try not to worry, it will only stress your baby out and until you have all the information from the doctors, you don't have to figure out whats in store for the future. The only thing that helped me when I was so scared like you, was to pray and know that I would know what the next step would be when the time came. I will be praying for you. Hopefully it is nothing to be concerned about. Take care and try to relax for your baby--its the best you can do for them.


I work in an Intensive Care Nursery, so I have seen prenatal ultrasounds show a problem that resolves or isn't there at birth. I also see prenatal ultrasounds that show problems. Please remember that a prenatal ultrasound is a series of pictures at one point in time. Also there are discribed "normals" that the radiologist is comparing your ultrasound against. An individual fetus maybe "outside the normal" and still be healthy. And in other cases there are definitely problems. So take a big breath, and as others have said, there is nothing to do at this time but be followed by serial ultrasounds. It may be a simple as at that point in time the fetus had not recently swallowed amniotic fliud (think it's been awhile since your last meal therefore your stomach is smaller than if you just ate), could be the angle of the ultrasound (for a prenatal ultrasound you are going through one person to view another - makes things technically harder - they can't ask your baby to move into better position). If your baby does have a problem, then you will have time to learn about the problem and what is done to help your baby. In someways that seams easier than delivering what you thought was a healthy baby and then having the baby taken to the Intensive Care Nursery and learning all these things so quickly. Many times our moms with a fetus that is prenatally diagnosied with problems will meet with the various types of doctors that will be taking care of the baby after delivery, for example the neonatologist, surgeon, etc. I know you will worry, try to keep it to as little as possible. I think already having a little one helps a great deal - I always loved watching my little ones learing about the world. They also keep you busy. All the best, D.

hi K., it's funny that you asked this because today at my 34 week check up i had to do an ultrasound and was told that my amniotic fluid is low and the baby is small but not to worry. my doc will monitor, have to go in again next week. i think the best advice for us is to try not to worry (ha!) and have our husband's make us dinner for a while. or at least take care of our little ones (we have a 15 month old daughter). good luck and i'll think good thoughts for you!


Just to tell you alittle bit of my story. Which was alittle different. Well, when I went to my 20 wk u/s they detected more fluid than normal. They said it could be due to abnormalities. Of course, I freaked out and cried. They can not really get into details. I waited about another weeks to get another level 2 u/s. they still couldnt find anything wrong ..but still had more fluid than normal. I was checked every week from 22 weeks til 38 weeks. The fluid started diminishing as I approached labor. Then it was normal. I know there are times where something can be wrong. In my case thanks to God, I have a healthy soon to be 6 month old baby girl. So, I would just say don't worry, even though its natural to worry about your baby. I mean what mother wouldnt. But, dont stress too much. Have faith that everything will turn out fine. Your baby is in God's hands. I wish you the best!!!

Hi K.,

I haven't heard of this, but wanted to offer my support. The Dr. would have told you if there was something you could do immediately, or if this is a disorder you need to prepare for. I know it's tough to do, but just try not to worry, and trust your Dr and if you're religious trust in God and bring your worries and prayers to Him. Also, try writing down your questions about this for your next Dr visit. Just the act of writing them down will help order your mind and feel more calm. Plus, you'll have an easier time getting all the info you need when you see the Dr again, so you won't have to worry so much! I'm sure everything will be fine. You'll be in my prayers.


HI K.-

I have 5 healthy children and during my pregnancies the ultrasound always seemed to show 'something' that was not quite in the textbook norm. You can make yourself crazy with worry, or you can choose to not make yourself crazy. Sometimes, I just said "okay, it is out of my hands, I'm going to pray for a healthy baby, and let the rest go". Usually by the next ultrasound, things had changed. The best you can do is take care of your beautiful baby and your hubby, take care of yourself and enjoy each day as life brings it. You will find that even though life isn't perfect, you wouldn't want your children any other way!

God Bless you & yours, Happy New Year Too!


Hi K.,
I haven't heard of small fetal stomach before, but in my last ultrasound they told me that my baby's kidneys were dialated. They were very non chalant about it as well and just said that we would do some follow up ultrasounds to keep an eye on it. I freaked out a little bit and did a google search and what I found was a little reasuring, but still concerning for my issue. But when I went into the level 2 ultrasound the radiologist came in and I was able to ask as many questions as I wanted. Ultrasound techs by law aren't allowed to give us any imformation because it goes against the scope of their practice, but with the level 2 ultrasound that you'll have in a few weeks you can ask all you want when the radiologist comes in. It is easy to tell you not to freak out and just take it one step at a time. But like I said I wanted to know eveything I could before I went to the second ultrasound so I could ask questions. But that is just my nature. Good luck, I hope eveything turns out okay for you.

Just so you know, our kidney problem is still there but the radiologist said it was insignificant, yet we still have to follow up on it. So I have ultrasounds every few weeks. The hope is that as the baby grows the size of the kidneys will stay the same. So maybe they hope that as your baby grows so will its stomach and all will be okay. They just want to keep an eye on it.

The only thing you can do is continue to eat good healthy foods and exercise and be a good Mommy. And pray, which is what I would do as well.

I testify to you that our heavenly father loves you and will hear your prayers.

Remember, worry won't change a thing. Trust your Doctors. If they said they are going to monitor, they will. If there is nothing actually wrong, be grateful, but also prepare yourself emotionally that if there is something wrong, you will be there for your baby and get through it. I have heard stories of babies in the uterus being diagnosed with all sorts of things, then when the child was born it was perfectly healthy.
I think my favorite example is a friend whose baby was diagnosed as having no lungs and the prognosis was that if she went full term and gave birth he would either be stillborn or only survive a few minutes. My friend fought to find a Doctor who would even keep seeing her, going through six Doctors who tried to insist she have an abortion. The seventh Doctor worked with her and her son is now a robust healthy teenager. He was born with no signs of the lung problem the other doctors had diagnosed. My friend doesn't believe in abortion under any circumstances and was prepared to have a burial for her child if necessary, but grateful that she has a healthy living son instead.

Hi K.,
It is possible that there is nothing wrong. I had an early ultrasound at 16 weeks which the Dr. thought our baby might have had a hernia where the abdominal wall is defective and the intestines are not placed where they are supposed to be. I worried like crazy and did all sorts of research on the internet. I freaked myself out. 2 weeks later, the ultrasound was normal and everything was how it was supposed to be. Dr.'s sometimes need to announce POSSIBLE issues but sometimes, like in my case, there really is nothing wrong. waiting the two weeks for the next ultrasound is the hardest part. Dont freak yourself out until you have a reason. Being stressed is not good for your little one. I know, easier said than done.

Ultrasounds are kind of a nebulous thing - they aren't particularly detailed, and the same view of the exact same part of the fetus can be seen, and look, completely different from any angle depending on the placement of your placenta inside your uterus, the umbilical chord, how the baby is turned, blood supply, even the experience and "style" of the ultrasound tech. Very often, things that can look like a potential issue on an ultrasound one week can completely disappear by the next visit, never to be seen or brought up again - just to ease your mind, if the doctor thought it was a real issue or there was an obvious abnormality, it would have been seen much sooner, and the doctor would not "wait and see"
If neither the doctor NOR the ultrasound tech made a big deal out of it, I would just let it go until the next visit and ultrasound. OBGYN's do not hide things from their patients about the health of their fetus's and pregnancies just because of the holidays.

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