I always found it quite exciting having your bump measured and plotted in your charts. It was lovely to see how baby was growing and seeing that little line move along. But what happens when they suddenly tell you that your baby is measuring small?
The midwife says those words so calmly and as if it’s a passing comment whereas you take a deep breath and wonder what on earth is going on. Anything untoward to do with your baby always sends you in to a mild panic. It did with me anyway.
I had to go for growth scans with both my pregnancies and they can be quite scary but I’m here to try and re-assure you not to panic. Unfortunately I didn’t quite follow my own advice at the time! I will say that the day I was told Molly was measuring small was also the same day they told me that I had a serious condition called Obstetric Cholestasis and that they thought Molly was breech. It was all too much and I just sat and cried. I knew my bump was small but I didn’t think that was an issue as it had tracked on the same line all the way through the pregnancy. I had the extra worry that the potential smallness was due to the OC. Originally my growth scan was booked in for a week’s time which was quite a long wait. A week of wondering if everything was ok. I didn’t have to wait as it turned out as I ended up having it the next day as I needed urgent liver scans for the OC so they did the baby measurements then as well.
The scan is just the same as your normal 12 week and 20 week scans but they take various measurements of different parts of your baby to make sure everything is ok. You may have a second growth scan a few weeks later but again don’t worry, it’s only so they can check any changes in that time.
The issue with the bump measurements done by your midwife is that your bump may measure small, or equally big, due to a large number of factors, not just the size of your baby. It could be things like the amount of fluid around the baby or even just to do with your own height and build. Equally some babies grow quicker or slower than others so you may have a sudden growth spurt and then nothing for a while. So long as the measurements track on the same line it should be fine and little cause for concern.
Thankfully my scan showed that Molly was the perfect size, and even more thankfully not breech, so I only had the OC to worry about! The sonographer was great at reassuring me that everything was ok and I had nothing to worry about.
When I was pregnant with Alice they once again told me at around 34 weeks that they thought she was measuring small which was ironic as my bump was huge! This time I was quite relaxed as I knew the scan would quickly show whether there was an issue and not to worry. Once again baby was the right size although they sent me again at 36 weeks just to make sure as there were a lot of inconsistencies with my chart. During my pregnancy I had been measured by different midwives and doctors (as I was under consultant led care) and it seems everyone measures slightly differently hence my chart being all over the place.
In my experience most of the time the scan will confirm that everything is ok and there is nothing to worry about. However, occasionally they may find that your baby is smaller than it should be, often due to issues with the placenta, but rest assured you will then be in the best possible care to make sure your baby is monitored. Overall any extra scans and checks are all to do with making sure your baby is healthy and getting the chance to see your baby again can only be a good thing!
Has anyone else been sent for growth scans or been told their baby is smaller (or bigger) than they should be?