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Small for dates - any experience?

(19 Posts)
idunnop Sat 04-Jul-09 21:59:04

I'm 36.5 weeks pregnant and small for dates. Fundal height was 31cm at 34+3 weeks so I was sent for growth scan which confirmed the baby appears to be small, though placenta and fluid levels good. Had a further scan a week later (3 days ago) which confirmed placenta and fluid still good, but didn't measure growth again as they only measure it every 2 weeks.

I had a midwife appt yesterday and my fundal height measurement was 31.5cm at 36+3 weeks so no real change in 2 weeks... My next growth scan is on Thursday but that seems so far off - does anyone have any idea what will happen if the baby (a) hasn't grown at all in the last 2 weeks or (b) has grown but not as much as expected? They mentioned the possibility of delivering early but I'm unsure what the criteria would be for doing that.

I'm not tooooo worried about it, but I'm someone who likes to know exactly what's happening and understand all the options and possibilities, both positive and negative, so would appreciate any experience or advice from anyone. (Sorry - I'm not sure all the figures above are easy to follow!)

idunnop Sat 04-Jul-09 22:08:18

One other thing I forgot to mention: they said the fluid level was good - it's actually above the 95th centile. Is that definitely good or is there any bad reason why it could be high?

idunnop Sun 05-Jul-09 09:13:25


choklit Sun 05-Jul-09 09:29:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

idunnop Sun 05-Jul-09 17:44:17

Hi choklit. Sorry to hear you're going through the same thing, although I think the vast majority of cases turn out well - in fact one of my friend went on to have an 8lbs 7oz baby following several 'small for dates' scans so they could even have it totally wrong!

It's weird though how I seem to spend several days feeling totally unconcerned, then suddenly (like last night) it all hits me in a big bundle of worry....

Like you, I've been told they can't detect any problems which is obviously good, but it's hard not knowing what the cause is... Of course it could just be a naturally small baby, which is fine. Is it your first baby? I already have a daughter who was pretty average size at birth.

Longtalljosie Sun 05-Jul-09 17:52:12

Are you quite tall? I'm a bit small for dates but apparently for tall people this isn't unusual. Still not entirely sure why, but have been told this by three different people (two midwives and a doctor) so I guess it's true!

idunnop Sun 05-Jul-09 18:17:18

No I'm not tall - quite short, so it could be just that the baby takes after me I guess! Wonder why that would be, that tall people are often small for dates?

crumpette Sun 05-Jul-09 18:23:25

I was small for dates wih DD due to pre-eclampsia, but I had a low level of amniotic fluid, 5th centile. Over 95th centile is a bit worrying but can't see how this would cause you to be small for dates, unless the baby is not growing efficiently. If you have polyhydramnios (sp?) they will usually do further tests to check you don't have gestational diabetes and check the kidney function etc etc of your little one.

If baby isn't thriving when they do the growth scan, be prepared to be admitted and, assuming no other problems, induced. The baby will be better off out than in if it's reached the point where it is full-term already and not growing properly inside.

If you have any signs before Thursday that things aren't well, like no fetal movement, go to your hospital and get checked

Stinkyfeet Sun 05-Jul-09 18:28:42

I would think that if the baby's growth has tailed off, they will want to deliver sooner rather than later. Try not to worry - you'll be close to 38 weeks by the time they book you in for induction or a c-section following Thursday's scan, if they want to deliver that is.

Ds2 was small, delivered at 38+5 as his growth had slowed right down. He weighed 4lb 15, but was absolutely fine - bf straight away and grew very quickly.

I'd had numerous growth scans from about 30 weeks, all showing growth, but much slower than average (even though it was steady).

Good luck on Thursday and let us know how you get on!

idunnop Sun 05-Jul-09 19:07:15

Thanks for the replies... stinkyfeet, were you induced then, and how did it go?

Stinkyfeet Sun 05-Jul-09 19:13:45

I had a c-section, but that was partly down to the fact that I'd already had an emergency section with ds1. Everything was fine - ds2 was developmentally perfect, just small. He's never had any health or growth issues as a result and is now 3.

crumpette Sun 05-Jul-09 19:19:43

I was induced, with pessary gel stuff up you know where and then artificial rupture of membranes. That was enough, no need for nasty drips etc. It was absolutely fine, either way if your little one isn't growing then they are safer out at your stage of pregnancy. Good luck for Thursday! x

idunnop Sun 05-Jul-09 19:24:55

Stinkyfeet: That's a really positive outcome - I'd settle for that! So how soon after the last scan did you have your c-section? I have no concept whether it would be same day, next day, a few days' time.... And did your DS have to stay in hospital for a while due to being small, or was he allowed home as you were 38+5?

Crumpette: I've looked up polyhydramnios online but it says: When your midwife or doctor carries out an examination, you will appear to be "large for dates". So I guess although my fluid levels are high they're presumably not into that territory, as I'm 5cm small for dates... However it does mention causes including infection or chromosomal abnormalities, which are also possible causes of restricted growth.... hmmm will try not to think about that toooo much at this stage...

I feel like there's such a huge range of possibilities, ranging from serious to mild to just plain wrong measurements, that it's impossible to know what to think. Roll on Thursday!!

crumpette Sun 05-Jul-09 19:35:19

re the polyhydramnios, people do usually measure large for dates which is what threw me- just remember that no abnormalities have been detected in your scans etc, and in the one you had just 3 days ago baby was well- if there was a serious problem it would have been detected by now.

CakeForBreakfast Sun 05-Jul-09 20:28:34


I measured small for dates on my first pregnancy. That was nearly 2 years ago and everything was absolutely fine.

My fundus height stopped growing from about 34 weeks. I am (well, was wink ), a petite size 8 and average height and my dh is 6foot. The midwife said she was positive that it was nature making sure the baby didn't get overly large for my body to birth it, but she did book me in for a another scan just to check, dd decided to make her appearance on the day of the scan so we just measured her for real!

Anyway, dd was born just under 7lbs, exactly the same birthweight as her daddy in fact. HOWEVER, she breastfed like a demon since then and climbed waaaay up the charts and was strong as an ox from birth too (apgars 9 and 9).

I am now pg with dc2 and from the size of my bump this time round, I'm not sure I can expect the same luxury of a 7lb baby!

A scan should reassure you, especially if baby seems healthy.

Best of luck!

Stinkyfeet Sun 05-Jul-09 20:36:41

I had the scan on a Thursday, and went in on the Monday. We were home Thursday, 3 days later. Moved house the next day - but that's another story entirely!!

WheresSpot Sun 05-Jul-09 20:52:50

Guessing the size of a baby is not an accurate science. Fundal height measurements can vary if you are measured by different midwives using different tape measures or using the two finger width measurement each time. Also, the centimetre per week thing is not 100% accurate becaue it dosent take into consideration your height, build, muscle tone of your stomach or the postion of the baby, which can move and your measurement can get smaller too!
My fundal height was small for dates throughout my prgnancy and my DD was 7lb11oz, which I think is average.
The scan itself isn't always that accurate either, as its difficult to measure baby from head to foot when they are curled up!
Bottom line, try not not to worry

WheresSpot Sun 05-Jul-09 20:54:30

sorry about typos, have been out in the sun too long!

idunnop Mon 06-Jul-09 08:42:27

Thanks for the reassurance everyone.

Crumpette - how many weeks were you when you were induced? It sounds like your induction went very well - I wondered if as it would be 37 weeks for me, the gel etc might not work as well as if I was overdue, so I might be more likely to end up with a drip. Maybe that's not the case though...

Anyway, I'll try not to worry until Thursday when I have the scan. The baby's definitely been more active than usual in the last couple of weeks, which has got to be a good sign it's doing OK. I've now got 3 days to myself while DD goes to nursery so will try to make the most of them grin

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