Very worried after "femur" measurements found to be below average

(17 Posts)
mya22 Wed 05-Sep-12 13:53:29

Hi There
I'm new to this forum but hoping for some advice / reassurance
I've had a rocky journey to becoming a mum after 2 miscarriages I had a daughter in 2009 then after another 3 miscarriages I was diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder "antiphospholipid syndrome" I'm now 20 weeks pregnant and taking aspirin and heparin. Everything looked normal at my scan apart from the baby's 'femur' measurements are only showing as on the 3rd centile. I have done a bit of internet research and feel totally petrified now there may be a problem with the baby. I have a referral to 'fetal medicine' in 2 weeks but meanwhile i'm climbing the walls. I would appreciate any experiences good or bad you can share. I just can't quite believe this is happening after all the stress I've been through ):

elvisola Wed 05-Sep-12 14:28:14

My daughter was on the very bottom of the centiles for femur length. I had additional growth scans at 26 and 34 weeks and although her legs did not grow disproportionally to the rest of her they remained very small.

I was very concerned and googled lots of scare stories but actually the professionals were quite reassuring. When she was born she did have diddly little legs but was perfectly proportioned.

She is now 2 and fine. Average height, walked at 10 months etc. She just had short legs!

I am sure your baby will be the same - don't forget that 3rd centile is still in the "normal" range just at the very bottom end. Good luck x

mya22 Wed 05-Sep-12 15:16:16

Hi and thanks so much for your reply - it has made me feel a bit better! I don't know if they have changed how they measure but my consultant said 5-99 is normal and 3rd centile is under..so on my chart the crosses look well under the curve where they should start..but anyway its lovely to know your daughter had this that she is perfectly fine. x

TunipTheVegemal Wed 05-Sep-12 15:26:46

Could short femurs run in your family? They were going to induce dd because based on her femur and and head size in the scan they were worried she wasn't growing properly. She was fine, turned out she'd just inherited it from me - I am quite short with a smallish head....
Sorry you're having such a stressful pregnancy. x

chestnut100 Wed 05-Sep-12 15:34:55

My 20 wk scan showed femur on 3rd centile. Doctor was happy there was no under lying cause and he just had short legs. I however worked myself into a frenzy after looking on line. I insisted on seeing the top doc who said the same but scanned me for my reassurance at 26 wks, and he had caught up to 20% centile. He's now 20 wks old, perfect and on 75th centile for height. Hope that is reassuring

mya22 Wed 05-Sep-12 19:29:43

Thanks for your replies and these do offer some comfort..I am quite short about 5'4 but my husband is tall and my daughter is also quite tall for her age and we never had any growth problems with her. I guess my big fears are from having seen stories where the short femur measurements then turned out to be indications of other problems...I wish I could fast forward time to the next scan but then I'm worried I might not get any answers even then if growth is only slight or something! I also have wondered if it could be the placenta not working or just if i haven't eaten enough as have tried not to go crazy stuffing my face like I did last time!!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 05-Sep-12 20:25:42

You would have to really undereat to affect the baby. Don't worry about that.
Fingers crossed that everything will be fine. I know it's really hard to have so much worry.

Hi Mya, I am so sorry you are going through so much stress after everything else, hopefully my experiences can also offer you plenty to be optimistic about.

DS1 was found at a private 20wk scan to have small femurs...he was scanned every month for rest of pg and his legs were always small compared to the rest of him, but he was born weighing 6lbs (9th centile) little legs but perfectly healthy and now a healthy, leggy, mad bike riding 7yo.

I then had DD, no problems during pg and 8lbs at birth, nothing unusual.

Ds2, horrific pg, at 20wk scan, none of his measurements even made it on the chart he was so tiny. Diagnosis was most likely placental insufficiency/IUGR, which at 20wks, as you no doubt have found, is not good news. But he carried on growing, was scfannhed every two weeks, born on 0.4th centile at 37wks, tenny but also perfectly healthy, no need for scbu. He is now 2.5 and whilst still small, has no developmental problems. I think I am rubbish at growing boy babies!

I know how hard it is not to worry, but it's not necessarily terrible. If you are in or near London I cannot recommend the Fetal Medicine Centre on Harley St highly enough. Prof Nicolaides, who runs it, is amazing, probably the best in the world at fetal medicine (he devised the nuchal test and is renowned/teaches worldwide). A scan with him should give you the best advice possible, make sure if you go you will see him, it used to be a Wednesday he was there.

By the way, on the eating thing, when the drs thought placental insufficiency was ds2's issue, they said that there was absolutely nothing I could do to affect it, not rest, not diet. Also, studies have shown that foetuses are incrediblly efficient parasites and your body will prioritise the baby...eg women who are literally starving in African countries known to give birth to healthy 5/6lb babies. Definitely nothing to do with your actions.

Good luck, keep us posted smile

mya22 Thu 06-Sep-12 22:20:07

Thanks so much for your posts and advice. I really hope this turns out to be a "storm in a teacup". I'm going to worry no matter what i guess but hopefully when I have another scan a week tomorrow I might get a clearer picture of things. I will keep you all posted x

mummytoh1 Fri 07-Sep-12 11:30:35

My understanding is that 3rd centile means that for every 100 babies, 2 will have shorter legs and 97 will have longer legs. Someone has to have the 3rd shortest legs! I think that centiles can be unnecessarily worrying. My first baby had a head on the 95th centile but everything else was 50th and goodness did they wind me up about that! When my second son had a head on 91st centile and everything else average, I took a deep breath, and ignored them! Both are fine!

mya22 Sun 16-Sep-12 10:36:40

Hi Everyone

I just wanted to let you all know that I had another scan on Friday at Fetal Medicine and the femurs are still short however they feel it most likely to be "normal variation" - They think most likely baby is okay! It does however increase my risk of downs from 1/850 to 1/500..still considered low risk. It also increases the risk of bone disorders slightly. I am very relieved and although nothing is guaranteed I will just be waiting to see how the boy turns out now! Thanks for all your posts it's been a very anxious time. XXX

AlisonDB Wed 03-Oct-12 21:37:27

Hi Mya,
I had similar at my 21 week scan, the sonographer (who was a total bitch throughout the scan) found 3 soft markers in our baby,
1 calcium spots on the heart, slightly enlarged kidneys & a short femur,
We where then told by her,,,
"mmm yes i think your baby has Downs syndrome! You now need an amnio and you only have 3 weeks to terminate, your baby is now a ticking bomb!!!"
We where mortified, I burst out crying, my hubby went into total shock,
Anyway we decided quite quickly that we would not have the amnio for us we felt the risk of miscarrage was too big
,
But we where refered to another sonographer for a 2nd opinion,
At the 2nd scan at 22 weeks the kidneys where no longer an issue, back to being within normal range, so then just the calcium spots and short femur, but we where told that he was small just on the 10th centile,

We had a follow up scan at 28weeks with the consultant, and now the only thing they can see is the short femur.... as well as being overall small still on 10th centile.
She checked lots of other markers for Downs, and found non,
We will have another scan at wk 32, then probably another at wk36, week 38,
At the moment the talk is that if he falls below the 10th centile i will be induced around wk 37-38 if he stays on the 10th centile i will be induced wk 39-40. (just incase its a placenta issue)
I am only 5" my hubby is 5.7"
When my mum was pregnant with my brother (before the era of scans)
She was told he was a small baby, and indeed he was he was just below 6lb i was over 8lb,
Now he is 6.1" so he didnt stay small for long.

Whatever happens he is a lucky little boy to have you as his mum!
X

mya22 Wed 18-Sep-13 19:42:52

Hi there....in case anyone reads this thread and to hopefully reassure some of you..my beautiful son turned out absolutely perfect!! He was quite small when he was born - 6lb 2 and on 5th centile overall but with lovely legs in proportion. Now he is an 8 month old bouncing big boy - on 50th centile. We can't say how tall he will be but he looks perfectly normal leg-wise..and he is on the 100th centile for cuteness!!
Good luck x

Congratulations on your lovely baby boy! Great to have an update too... I'm sure in the future others will be in the same situation you were last year, come across this thread and feel a bit less worried because of it.

lostlove Wed 18-Sep-13 22:50:26

Congratulations! smile

Thanks for coming back to update the thread.

junkfoodaddict Sat 28-Sep-13 20:55:31

That's fab!
My DS was induced due to low weight, small and loss of fluid. He was 6lbs 6oz, on the 9th percentile.
Now he's 21 months and on the 91st for height, 75th for weight and gets mistaken for a nearly 3 year old - he does have short legs like both parents!!!

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