Take it easy. Take a deep breath in and out and now relax. The baby can be 3 weeks behind or smaller than the gestational dates for many reasons, and more than often it’s nothing to worry about. Remember these measurements are not always accurate, and importantly that every baby grows at a different rate.
Some babies can be measured as large while some average and some might be measured small. It really depends on many reasons.
If your baby has been measured as small on your ultrasound or during the fundal height measurements, it’s not always an issue of concern. As long as the doctor says it’s okay, then you’re okay. Your doctor might ask you to conduct further tests, but then again, there’s nothing to panic about. It’s just to identify why your baby was measured small and treatments to provide for it.
How’s my baby measured during pregnancy?
Your doctor or midwife at your antenatal visits will measure the baby’s fundal height i.e. the distance from the pubic bone to the top of your uterus so that they can know roughly the size of your uterus, position of the baby, and its growth rate.
The fundal height will be equal to the number of weeks of your pregnancy give or take 2 cms, meaning if you’re 24 weeks pregnant, then the fundal height measurement should be somewhere between 22cm-26cm.
Your OB/GYN will let you know exactly if your baby is small through ultrasound, and since it’s more reliable, and will also let you know about the estimated delivery date. The measurements then will be compared to the fetal growth chart which will let you know if the baby is on track with its growth rate.
Sometimes, if a baby isn’t growing as per the measurements and weeks, then this is called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). If your baby has IUGR, more tests will be conducted, but don’t worry your doctor will tell you different treatments that can be done to keep you and your baby absolutely safe. Your baby can have IUGR if there are problems with your placenta if she’s not getting enough blood and oxygen.
As I said, there can be many reasons why a baby can be measured as small or a few weeks behind, even when the baby is healthy. It could be because the day you were measured, there wasn’t enough amniotic fluid around your baby which made your bump looked smaller.
Other things to consider are the baby’s position in the womb, your height, your ethnicity. So, if your baby was measured small then that is just simply because she’s short. Also, remember that your shape and tummy muscles can also affect the measurements.
Keep in mind and repeat this to yourself, that every baby grows at different rates from each other. If your baby is a few weeks behind now, but she can have a growth spurt and catch up with the others, and if she doesn’t, then don’t worry if your doctor doesn’t raise an issue and your baby is quite keeping up with the kicks in your tummy.
A baby being measured small or large doesn’t always signal a medical problem with the baby’s development. But, if there’s anything you notice has reduced about your baby’s movements, then consult your doctor immediately.