9 answers

Ultrasound Says Baby Is Small- Anyone Know Why They Would Deliver Early?

Hi All-

I am about 32 weeks along and had ultrasound at my appointment yesterday. They said that the baby is on the small side- measuring in the 14th percentile. The doctor said that they don't worry unless they are in the 10th percentile and that she has plenty of fluid around her and blood going to her. I am measuring right were I should be too. I go back for a quick measuring/heart monitoring apt in 2 weeks and then 2 weeks from then I will have another ultrasound and if she is still pretty small, they will do some stress tests to make sure everything is ok. The doctor said that she may have a growth spurt but if not, they will most likely deliver her at 39 weeks which is weird to me because I would think they would want her to stay in there longer? Does any one know why they would deliver a baby early if they were on the small side?

Again, they did say everything looked fine and that some people just have small babies.


What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks Ladies- this makes me feel much better and it makes alot of sense. Have a great night!

More Answers

Hi Kerie,

I went through the same thing except my little girl was in the 8-10th percentile. I had a c-section at 38 weeks because the doctors told me that after that date the baby is fully developed and might actually gain weight faster if she was born. BTW, my little girl is and has always been in the 5th percentile for weight and she is thriving. Remember some babies are just small.

Best of luck!

I am not a medical professional, but the questions I would ask are:

1. Is the doctor sure about the conception date to more accurately predict the due date?

2. Does the doctor have any reason to be concerned about how effective your uterus is functioning? Do you have any fibroids? etc.

It's always hard not to worry when the doctor has even the slightest bit of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that so often ultrasounds are incorrect. I can only imagine that it is difficult to take very precise measurements of a squirmy baby inside the womb. We had all kinds of crazy false alarms with my 2 girls and both are fine. We too were told that my 2nd baby was small for her age at one ultrasound, but that she had caught up by a few weeks later. My guess is that they did the first one wrong, but it's hard to say. Hang in there!

First - 14th percentile is still on the charts. I had to edit this because what I wrote was wrong - too long since statistics class - but the point was right - some babies are even smaller at this point.

But to your specific question, I know someone who had a similar sounding set of tests (I don't know her percentiles) and it was determined that the baby was not getting enough nourishment from the placenta. That was the reason for taking the baby earlier in her case, so that the baby could receive intravenous nutrition and so on as needed. Good luck, and I hope the next set of tests is reassuring.

Looks to me like they are worried about placenta issues. So if the placenta is not as efficient or there is some other blockage that your baby has adapted to-they aren't risking it. As a trained birth doula I have seen more ob's delivering babies earlier and earlier. I can't say why - it seems more like fear to me. I asked my Ob why and she said it's true but she sees no clinical evidence.Keep asking your Doc and see what the repsonse is.My information says the longer the baby stays in the better 40-42 wek is the ideal time. And the 42 week baby does better then the 39 week old in general.
\Good luck and an Easy birth!!!

My little one was also diagnosed with 'small for gestational age' meaning she was on the small side. My amniotic fluid levels were a little low too.
We all knew it was probably b/c me and my husband are short, but to be safe, they did weekly stress tests and ultrasounds. They induced me at 37 weeks, b/c after 37 weeks, all growth is completed in the womb. Also, if there is something impeding the growth of the baby, like a defective placenta, the baby can thrive better outside than inside. So that is why they are inducing u.

I forgot what percentile she was in, and again, these are rough estimates. She ended up being born 5 pounds (much heavier than they originally thought she was) and very healthy since. Nothing was wrong with the placenta or anything.

So they are just being cautious. Good luck!

Everyone would ask me when I was pregnant how big the baby was. I then asked my obgyn about this. She said that there is no way of really giving an accurate weight of the baby in the womb, therefore, they don't estimate. I think what is MORE important is that your uterus is measuring 1 centimeter per week of your pregnancy. So since you are 32 weeks the top of your uterus to pelvis should be about 32 centimeters. I never had a percentile or estimation of weight while I was pregnant. My baby was a healthy 7lbs 3oz. I would try not to worry until the obgyn says there is something to worry about. Also if you don't agree with delivering at 39 weeks or being induced feel free to get a 2nd opinion.

Don't let them make you think that you should deliver early. You're right! That doesn't make sense. Well, I don't know how you feel about your doctors, but I switched my care at 36 weeks, and just had my baby a week ago, and I was so happy that I swtched, and only wished I had sooner. Follow your instincts... if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't!

I believe they deliver early because they are playing it safe. No harm to take the baby early. Whatever happens, your baby is fine. At this far along, they would be able to tell you if there were anything serious going on. All they know s exactly what they are telling you. The baby is small. I went in with my baby and they told me that she was on the small side. I was so worried and I thought I was doing something wrong..not eating right.. too much stress. On my next check up, my baby was on the big side. The nurse told me that she must have had a growth spurt. Now, as far as the size of the babies, how big were you at birth? My mother ha 6 children all 10lbs. My baby came out, at no surprise, at 9lbs.10oz! And I was worried! Just eat well, sleep on your left side and try not to stress. They are just being cautious. NOTHING IS WRONG. Congratulations!

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