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Large fetal stomach

(24 Posts)
2020N Sat 31-Oct-20 12:41:01

Hi everyone,

I’m currently 25+4 and waiting on a referral to a specialist hospital following results of my anatomy scan, and was looking to see if others have any experiences similar please.

I had the combined screening tests at 12 weeks and came back as low risk for all. The 12 week scan and NT were all fine too.

At my 20 week anatomy scan, the sonography commented that the baby’s stomach was distended and that there were signs of ‘fluid bubbles’ in the bowel, so referred me straight to the Fetal Medicine Unit within the hospital. I was seen the following week, and the consultant could not see any signs of issue with either the stomach or bowel in the scan, however because there was signs in the initial scan, he arranged another scan in 3 weeks time to recheck.

We had the third scan with the FMU and consultant on Thursday, and whilst the bowels are all clear and show no sign of a blockage, the stomach is distended and measuring borderline in size for normal and abnormal. He has said that it could be nothing at all, and just a large stomach, or it could be a sign of a chromosomal problem. All other measurements of AC/FL/HC etc etc are normal and within range, it is just the isolated size of the actual stomach, not abdominal circumference.

He wanted to do an amniocentesis this coming Monday to ascertain if it is chromosomal or not, but I am terrified of the risk, although minimal. Instead we have opted for a second opinion from a specialist fetal medicine clinic. I’m waiting for an appointment to see them, and trying to remain positive as we haven’t had a definitive answer, but wanted to see if others have a similar experience x

OP’s posts: |
BigBigPumpkin Sat 31-Oct-20 12:44:10

No experience, I'm afraid, but I didn't want to read and run. Wishing you the very best and hoping that it's nothing serious. flowers

2020N Sat 31-Oct-20 14:49:00

Thank you for taking the time to leave your kind comment @BigBigPumpkin x

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Somethingsnappy Mon 02-Nov-20 11:49:40

Hi OP. I actually have quite a similar situation at the moment. Although no definitive answers yet, so I'm playing the waiting game too. I have a scan tomorrow to see if there have been any changes. In my case, they didn't mention the baby's stomach being large (that I can remember) but that it was fluid filled. And there was a possibility of the 'double bubble' in a couple of scan images. I was offered amniocentesis, but I've declined it as I'm not willing to take the risk of preterm labour (I'm 31 weeks) and knowing one way or another if the baby has Down's wouldn't change what I do anyway. From what I've gathered from reading, in every three cases of an intestinal blockage (known as duedenal atresia) 1 baby will have DS, but 2 won't. It occurs more often just as a single anomaly, not associated with chromosomal abnormalities. Have you heard or read anything about this? Like you, I have no other indicators or markers. It is hard waiting, isn't it?

Somethingsnappy Mon 02-Nov-20 11:52:08

P.s. have you been tested for gestational diabetes and had the screening for infections? Do you have polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid)?

76ocean Mon 02-Nov-20 11:58:56

No experience of that problem but did have other issues that were DS markers. Turned down an amniocentesis as we would of kept that baby either way so didn't want to risk it. Continued to be scanned by fetal medicine and all turned out well. (Option for an amniocentesis at a later gestation so that if labour was triggered baby would be big enough). Thinking of you, it's a horrible time.

2020N Mon 02-Nov-20 17:39:47

@Somethingsnappy Thank you so much for replying. I am sorry that you’re in a similar position and have the waiting worries too.

I read up on ‘Double bubble’ after my 20week scan raised some concerns with the distended stomach and fluid bubbles in the bowel, but by the following week the scan showed that the fluid in the bowels had disappeared and the stomach appeared normal, so the consultant suggested that maybe the baby had been going to the toilet at the time of the scan which was why it was captured on the images. There wasn’t any sign of fluid in the bowels at my latest scan, 3 weeks later, though the distended stomach was back.

Have you had a few scans at different times, as the fluid showing in the bowel might be similar for you if it has only been captured in the single time frame?

I’m the same, I don’t want to risk miscarriage or preterm labour with an amniocentesis, I’m just better at knowing what I’m dealing with, so finding it hard not having answers at the moment. When was it first raised as an area of possible concern with you? It’s hard with being in the final stretch too isn’t it.

Gestational diabetes hasn’t been mentioned to me at all, and I haven’t had any other screening or tests for infections since the combined test and initial blood work checks at 12 weeks. My community midwife mentioned that she would be taking more bloods at my 27 week scan next week though. And my amniotic fluid is at normal volume. Everything is as it should be, apart from the large stomach. How about you? x

OP’s posts: |
2020N Mon 02-Nov-20 17:42:54

@76ocean Thank you so much for replying. I’m sorry that you too have had worries.

I think we are leaning towards the same path as you, with further monitoring as opposed to the amnio. The thought of the amnio and risk involved worries me more than anything else. I’m so glad that all has turned out well for you, and thank you for your kind words x

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Somethingsnappy Mon 02-Nov-20 19:50:59

Hi again. That's very good news that no further sign of fluid or bubbles has been seen at your latest scans! I'm in a similar position to where you were after your 20 week scan, in that so far it's been a one-off, so until we see at my scan tomorrow if fluid in the stomach remains, it could have just been a baby with a temporarily full stomach! As for the double bubble, the consultant thought the possibility of it was seen in a couple of scan images, but on closer inspection, she wasn't so convinced. So it's all a bit vague just now! Hopefully the scan tomorrow will tell us more. I'm just really hoping the fluid will have disappeared.
As for your baby's large abdomen, hopefully it's just one of those things. Actually, one of my previous babies had rather a large stomach in the scan, but he turned out fine...a big baby altogether though! They tested me for gestational diabetes because of the stomach, as sometimes that can cause it, but it was negative. It is a good sign if your amniotic fluid levels are normal too!

Somethingsnappy Mon 02-Nov-20 19:55:58

P.s. just saw I missed a couple of questions. The concern was raised only just two weeks ago (29 weeks pg) following the scan. No other concerns have been raised, although this baby is measuring on slightly the small side for me (my previous babies have all been pretty big!). But previous screenings have been low risk, and all other internal organs/brain/face etc, appear normal.

NannyAnnieKnitsKnickers Tue 03-Nov-20 08:56:06

Somethingsnappy

Hi OP. I actually have quite a similar situation at the moment. Although no definitive answers yet, so I'm playing the waiting game too. I have a scan tomorrow to see if there have been any changes. In my case, they didn't mention the baby's stomach being large (that I can remember) but that it was fluid filled. And there was a possibility of the 'double bubble' in a couple of scan images. I was offered amniocentesis, but I've declined it as I'm not willing to take the risk of preterm labour (I'm 31 weeks) and knowing one way or another if the baby has Down's wouldn't change what I do anyway. From what I've gathered from reading, in every three cases of an intestinal blockage (known as duedenal atresia) 1 baby will have DS, but 2 won't. It occurs more often just as a single anomaly, not associated with chromosomal abnormalities. Have you heard or read anything about this? Like you, I have no other indicators or markers. It is hard waiting, isn't it?


My daughter's baby had double bubble and (my daughter) polyhydramnios. She found this out at a 4d scan at 30 wks gestation. Baby was also very small. She had the amniocentesis - this procedure made the membranes collapse around the baby. The results were clear. Her baby was born at 34 wks and had corrective surgery hours later. Baby was in NICU for 5 weeks. She's 7 months old and meeting all milestones despite remaining small.

Somethingsnappy Tue 03-Nov-20 10:09:02

@NannyAnnieKnitsKnickers, thank you for sharing your daughter and her baby's story. I'm glad to hear she is doing well now. Do you mind me asking why she was in NICU for 5 weeks? I've seen that 2 weeks is the average. Were there complications? Perhaps due to the baby being premature too?

NannyAnnieKnitsKnickers Tue 03-Nov-20 11:25:08

Somethingsnappy

**@NannyAnnieKnitsKnickers**, thank you for sharing your daughter and her baby's story. I'm glad to hear she is doing well now. Do you mind me asking why she was in NICU for 5 weeks? I've seen that 2 weeks is the average. Were there complications? Perhaps due to the baby being premature too?



Before birth my daughter was told to expect a two week hospitalisation for her baby.

She was in hospital for a week before the birth because she was having contractions. Her waters 'Went' spectacularly and all who came to help were 'skating' in what went on the floor. Her labour was quite fast to say it was her first. Waters went at 2 o'clock then no pain at all until established labour at 6 o'clock (partner allowed in) born at 8.30.

Baby was 3lb 15oz and did not need any help with breathing - she was holding her own. She was taken to NICU after two hours with my daughter (dad had to go after an hour).

She had the operation successfully (the surgeon described it as basic plumbing) despite it being more complicated than first thought because of a major artery being tangled at the site of the 'stricture' but this whole area was bypassed. She again needed very little support post op - no oxygen required.

She was transferred from NICU to SCIBU quite quickly. All appeared well. She was making amazing progress.
She had surgery Saturday morning. Monday afternoon she had sepsis and was rushed back to NICU for 1 - 1 nursing. That was touch and go for 24hr. The following Saturday they introduced feeding directly into the stomach with a tube (my daughter was expressing) which everyone (family) thought was too soon. She had been on some sort of glucose drip? The following day my daughter arrived at her room and she wasn't there - she collapsed on the floor. Her baby had been moved in the night to another room because another baby needed 1 - 1. She wasn't told her baby had been moved. Baby was in a 2 - 1 room. During that day baby was being sick after every feed. My daughter was asked to leave that evening but was concerned that her baby was struggling. She asked if she could stay longer as baby was being sick and 'choking' frequently. She was told to go get some rest. At 8am she had a call to say baby had inhaled stomach contents into lungs and was back in 1 - 1 care. Again - touch and go for some 48 hrs. Baby then had this lung 'infection' which did not clear up and kept her in hospital until she was 35 days old. She went from no oxygen support required to having cpap for several weeks. My daughter felt that having 2 - 1 nursing there would've been a closer eye kept on her as she had told her nurse that baby was repeatedly 'choking'.

Baby was discharged on oxygen and was on this another 4 weeks fully and then another 4 weeks during the night. When she was discharged her arms and legs were the same diameter as her mums's little finger. Her aftercare really set her back considerably. My daughter is still having therapy (zoom) for PTSD after having watched her daughter choking and having a lumbar puncture amongst other procedures. At one point my daughter was shouted at - 'Are you going to help or do you want your daughter to choke?'

During her stay another baby was admitted to NICU with the same issue but this had not been picked up before birth. Born at 35 wks - very small. That baby had inhaled stomach contents and was in hospital for 12 wks.

My daughter has lost faith in medical staff.

Her partner also didn't get to 'meet' his daughter until discharge because of Covid - he saw her for an hour after her birth. Both had to shield throughout lockdown. Baby was born a couple of days into the first lockdown.

Baby has reflux which is now improving because she has started solids but the reflux was quite bad to begin with. We think that due to having to hold the baby upright after feeds for half an hour is the cause of her crying every time she was being 'settled' afterwards. My daughter is still very anxious about the possibility of choking.

She had her vaccinations without any problems. Baby is still unsettled through the night. Apart from feeding issues she is a strong and hilarious little character and is sitting unaided and trying to crawl. She has just gone into 3-6 month clothes. We don't know how much she weighs because her next weighing appointment for next week has just been cancelled. She was about 13.5 lb the last time she was weighed which was a while ago. Aftercare since discharge has been hit and miss due to Covid. Mainly miss.

My daughter has had two telephone conversations with the surgeon and one face to face visit. The surgeon retired last month, but baby should have one more check up and as she seems to be piling on the weight since weaning started she shouldn't need any further treatment. Her milk feeds didn't appear to stay down long (EBF) despite prescribed medication but since food got more solid she seems to be keeping it all in. My daughter wishes she had weaned much earlier but was told not to be ridiculous by her HV when she asked about weaning when baby was around 20wks old.

A happy ending but a long and rocky journey to get to here.

Hope your journey is smoother because you'll know what to watch out for.

2020N Tue 03-Nov-20 17:20:12

@Somethingsnappy I hope that you received some positive news at your scan today.

Thank you, that’s reassuring that one of your babies also had rather a large stomach in the scan, I hope mine is just greedy! I might ask them to check me for GD to be on the safe side.

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Somethingsnappy Wed 04-Nov-20 10:08:52

@NannyAnnieKnitsKnickers, thank you so much for taking the time to write the details for me! I'm sorry your daughter and her baby had such an awful time of it, but I'm glad to hear everything is going well now!

@2020N, the scan went well yesterday! The fluid levels in baby's stomach were normal and no sign this time of a hint if a double bubble. I feel very happy with this. The consultant was a bit more cautious and said occasionally there may be a narrowing rather than a blockage, but it could also simply be that last time was s one off. The way I see it, is that if the baby's stomach fluid levels were normal and so were my own amniotic fluid levels, then fingers crossed it can't be too awful. I'm allowing myself to feel relieved, although trying not to be complacent.

2020N Wed 04-Nov-20 12:32:29

@Somethingsnappy I am so pleased for you, I’m glad you’ve had some good news to focus on! Will they keep an eye on things for you or are you back to MLC until baby is born?

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Somethingsnappy Wed 04-Nov-20 12:48:48

@2020N, they are still keeping an eye on me with extra scans, both to monitor the baby's stomach, but also to monitor growth (I am 43!). What about you?

2020N Wed 04-Nov-20 12:54:30

@Somethingsnappy I’m glad that they’re keeping a close eye on things for you, that will help with the worries won’t it. Each positive scan is a win!

I’m still waiting to hear back about my referral to the specialist hospital. I’ve just called my local hospital to see if they can chase up the appointment for me, as I’ve got so many questions whizzing around my head! Just a date to focus on moving forward would help in the meantime.

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catnoir1 Wed 04-Nov-20 12:59:34

My daughter had abnormal sized stomach, I was scanned weekly.

Baby was 11lb 4 at 38 weeks so they said it would have been down to her size.

PrayingandHoping Wed 04-Nov-20 13:01:50

@2020N have they offered u the nipt? It's not diagnostic like the amnio however a lot more reliable than the standard 12 week scan tests

My baby came up with short femurs on the 20 week scan and we ended up with FM. Had loads of tests and ended up with only amnio left which we declined as there was no other markers other than little legs. Nipt did actually shock everyone including consultant and came back high risk (our 12 week had been low risk) but there was still the chance of false positive (there is v little chance of false negative but is a chance of false positive)

We continued to be monitored and was induced at 37 weeks as she was still so small and was born at 4lbs9oz. Even then they didn't think she had DS as she had no physical markers but the blood test confirmed she does

She has just had her 1st birthday. It's been a rollercoaster but she's amazing. A smidge behind in milestones but nothing major and she a total utter delight. Wouldn't change a thing

I hope you get great support and everything is well with your baby x

2020N Wed 04-Nov-20 16:53:15

@catnoir1 Thank you for messaging.

Brian, 11lb 4 at 38 weeks! Were all of her other measurements within range too?

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2020N Wed 04-Nov-20 17:01:32

@PrayingandHoping Thank you very much for taking the time to message and share your journey.

I haven’t been offered the NIPT, but it’s one on my list of questions for them. I think I’d be happier with that, as I’m not quite set on not having the amnio and risking baby in any way. We’re quite similar in that the stomach size is the only marker that we have.

I think we would follow the same path as yours and ask for monitoring and the NIPT just to make sure baby is well in there, but if all is well and the blood comes back either way, we know that it wouldn’t change anything for us either - this baby is already very much our whole world!

I’m so pleased that everything has worked out well for you and your little girl, she was tiny so has done very well bless her. I hope that she had a lovely first birthday and continues with working towards her milestones.

Thank you again for your kind words x

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PrayingandHoping Wed 04-Nov-20 17:40:50

@2020N good luck! And if u ever have questions down the line feel free to message me

2020N Wed 04-Nov-20 18:29:17

@PrayingandHoping Thank you so much, that’s really kind of you and I will do. Thank you x

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