Baby stopped growing in utero- what now?

Nadine - posted on 08/24/2011 ( 31 moms have responded )

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Hello,
I need to vent today and I am having a lot of questions.
I am 37 weeks pregnant and had a prenatal appointment just yesterday.
It didn't go to well, I am measuring 2 weeks behind and an ultrasound showed the baby measuring over 2 weeks behind.
Tomorrow, they want to do a non-stress test and next week, they want to do another ultrasound.
The only good news was that apparently the amniotic fluid is still good.

Does anyone here have expereince with this kind of situation, what could cause the baby to stop growing?
I did some internet searches but couldn't really find a good answer as I am very healthy and in good shape and the doc is a little clueless as to what is going on.
I have always measured about a week behind but at least there was steady growth, now it has stalled completley and I am worried.
I was told I might have to get induced.
How long would a doctor usually wait before he makes a decision?
What are the risks/benifeits of waiting vs. inducing?
I mean, I would really like to wait and go into labor on my own but I am rather safe than sorry, so whatever is neccessary to do, I am cool with...

Thank you in advance for all your input!!!

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Firzana - posted on 10/14/2011

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Im also 38 weeks today an was told the exact same thing 3 days ago that the babies growth is 2weeks behind and that i need a growth scan. Unfortunalty im still waitin for my appointment which is next week. I feel so worried couse i dont know whats happening inside and what to do next?

Reagan - posted on 08/15/2012

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im 34 weeks pregnant and was told that babys growth has slowed but not stopped, the body and head and everything is measuring normal but the babys stomach is measuring that of a 29 week baby. I have another scan in 2 weeks to see if theres improvment if no improvment the doctors may have to interviee. im nervous and scared about this.
but think its best to try not worry

Lady Heather - posted on 08/24/2011

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Hi! My first baby didn't grow in the last month she was in utero. We are not entirely sure why, but I did have a pretty sad looking placenta so that was probably the main factor. We couldn't see anything wrong with it on the ultrasound. I have a bicornuate uterus so we don't know if that contributed too. My personal opinion is that it is probably better to get the baby out if they aren't growing. My midwife and consulting obstetrician agreed. We monitored the baby via NST for a week to give her time to come out on her own. Part way through the week we scheduled a c-section for the following Monday (she was transverse so they would not induce). Ended up going into labour the Friday before and had a natural birth in the end. We did need the help of the vacuum because she was getting no oxygen.

I'm glad she did come out on her own, but I wouldn't have regretted the c-section if I'd had one. She was estimated at 6 lb based on the ultrasound and she came out at only 5lb 3. She had absolutely no meat on her - just skin and bones. I don't think that's healthy for baby and I would listen to medical professionals on this one. It sounds like your doctor is approaching things in a similar fashion to my midwife.

Melanie - posted on 09/01/2012

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I am 22 weeks and 3 days I went for my ultra sound yesterday doctors told us our baby was at risk of having down syndrome, there is a defect with his heart and a problem with my placenta. I'm high risk for hellp and eclampsia. Our baby was developing two weeks behind and that I would need to be in the hospital and monitored having the baby early. I'm so upset don't understand what I've done wrong the father is blaming me for everything bad that is happening. It hurts that he's blaming me I feel so alone.

Maureen - posted on 08/25/2011

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2 weeks is the cut off as an indicator for why to do an ultrasound. the fluid is good which is why you are not moving toward induction right now. as of now, it is not decided that your baby has stopped growing. the reason you will have an US next week is to compare today's results with the subsequent result to understand if your baby is just slightly smaller than the norm but still growing from week to week vs having a baby that stopped growing. if you were 2 weeks behind and had always been on target or ahead it would be more relevant. worse scenario would be lagging growth and low amniotic fluid--that would be indication that something is not going as well in the intrauterine environment.
so for now, you have the unsettling problem of having a red flag raised to be told that it may or may not be something, wait and see.

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Nadine - posted on 08/31/2011

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I got good news when I went in for the Ultrasound this week. Baby has grown a little bit and measures now 36 weeks at 37w5d GA. NST was good also so no induction anytime soon. Now Doc said every day inside is good so he would only consider inducing if I went past my due date or if I wished to be induced the week before the due date. I am very relieved but I wouldn't mind having a baby sometimes this week...so tired of being pregnant!

Cass - posted on 08/27/2011

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From my first ultrasound at 12 weeks, it was suspected that something was going a little bit differently in my pregnancy. The dr simply thought that my due date needed to be dropped back by a few weeks. However by the time I had my 5 month ultrasound it was found that my little boy wasn't growing like he needed to be. I went to both my regular ob/gyn and a maternal/fetal medicine specialist every week and around week 30 had 2 NST weekly. My baby was very small and I had developed gestational diabetes and very high blood pressure (that was turning pre-eclamptic). I was put into the hospital at 34 weeks because my little boy had stopped growing and was losing weight. Four days into my hospital stay and my water level went down. During an ultrasound, my baby wouldn't move much and wasn't acting like himself. This occurred at 10 am, I had a C-Section at 4:00 pm that same day. My labor couldn't be indued due to the risk that small babies with low water level don't handle labor well. My little boy was 3lb 5oz and almost 6 weeks early. He was perfectly healthy aside from being very small. Today he is 19 months old and catching up. He is still on the leaner side, but is healthy and without health problems.

Susan - posted on 08/25/2011

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My situation was similar, although it was the dodgy obs ultrasound in the consult rooms that was causing the panic the actual ultrasound done by the radiographers was a more reliable guide. Ensure you get this done before any decisions are made. Sometimes it just happens, I have had friends induced or emergency caesers because their baby stopped growing and there was never any real explanation that could be found. At the end of the day remember that you want what is best for the health of your baby, you wouldn't want to put them at risk. Inductions are not as bad as you may fear. I have needed to have 2. My second was easier tho because I took homeopathic drops, can't remember the name but it starts with "c" it helps prep your body for labour, and it ment i responded easier and quicker to induction and it was not nearly as invasive as the 1st time. Both my girls were induced at 38 weeks and are fine. I would vote for doing anything to not put my baby at any risk, at 37 or 38 weeks they are strong enough to join the outside world!!

Aleks - posted on 08/25/2011

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At around 38 weeks gestantion my fundal measurement was that for a 32 weeks (at the most from what the ob said). I measured 32 weeks at 30 weeks gestation. So basically that meant that there was no growth (though I didn't feel like it... I felt I was expanding like a pumped baloon..lol).

Anyway, they wanted to induce and quickly (meaning in the next few days), even though baby seemed fine and was moving quite well for such a late term. They performed ultrasounds and fetal monitoring. They said that they were suspecting my placenta to have stopped functioning well and that it wasn't providing all the nutrients to the baby and measured the baby to be around 2928gms or 6lb2oz, which in their eyes was quite small. I had small amounts of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and this means that the baby not getting enough nutrients and so isn't peeing enough (to produce all the amniotic fluid around itself). I was already something like 3cm dialated (second pregnancy and all) so they said I was well ready to be induced. We made a booking for the induction for the following Friday (7 days later) which would have made me around 39weeks pregnant. I didn't want to be induced (I went in for the prenatal visit expecting to walk out in 10min of seeing the doc, which did not happen, so was a bit in shock).

The ob did an internal examination and she did the old trick of stretching the opening which sometimes can start the labour process more naturally. And this is what happened to me. I got "the show" by the time I got home, and went into full swing labour on sunday night to give birth to a very healthy little girl by monday morning (who measured 6lb8oz, exactly the same as her dad when he was born full term and no complications).

Brenda - posted on 08/25/2011

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i think unless u or the baby is under stress then u should let mother nature take its couse as long as u see ur doctor regural and he/she is watching u.

Brenda - posted on 08/25/2011

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i had my 3rd child when i was 31 and when i was pregnut a didnt gain any weight and most poeple didnt even notice i was having a baby, when my son was born he was that of a baby of 28 weeks. there is no reason why he stoped growing. hes aa strapping 15 yr old today ( well next month) to this day they dont know why my doctor just said i need to drank lots and stay hydrated and to eat well.

[deleted account]

I am also 37 weeks today and I definately have experience with what you are feeling at the moment. At the beginning of my pregnancy, on my genetic screening tests, they found my baby had extremely low fetal proteins and on the second test they were even lower, and at that point they said it was probably either a major birth defect or a placental defect in which the baby would stall out on growing and they may would have to take him early, so Ive spent the entire pregnancy worrying about it and being on guard. They seemed to rule out a major birth defect early on, and believe its more of a placental defect. The only thing that worked in my favor (and its hard to see it as a good thing but in this case, it may be a blessing in disguise) is that I developed gestational diabetes which seems to be counteracting the placental defect. Normally diabetics have very large baby but mine is right on target as of last week so he isnt getting too much or too little as far as nutrients. My question is if he was getting the proper nutrients...but since he is on target as far as growth, I try to see that as reassurance. Which I dont know about how often they have you scheduled but I am going to 3 or 4 appointments every week and have been for months and I am constantly being monitored because they are watching for absolutely any changes at all with me or the baby. They are doing a sonogram and fetal stress tests every week detecting growth, fluid levels an movements as well as my normal drs appts. At 37 weeks though, they consider you full term so they really may induce soon if the baby has stopped growing...but thankfully at that point the baby should be okay since the lungs and all are completely formed by this point, so be thankful you at least made it this far. If you want further info on the restricted growth of your baby and what is happening, try looking up "IUGR" in your search engine and maybe that will also help with some of your questions on what is happening. I found that knowledge is very helpful and reassuring so at least I can understand what was happening and going on with me and the baby and it helps me prepare for the possibilities. I know for me, they arent gonna let me get to my due date so at this point so Im on a countdown, but you do what you need to to insure the safety and welfare of your child as well as your own health. My choice would be to wait until the baby came on its own and hope to have it naturally....but I realize with my risk factors, that probably wont be the case. I wish you luck and definately understand how you feel. I dont know if I helped any by by telling you what I was experiencing with this pregnancy, but it may help you understand what is going on since its things I have been on guard for the entire pregnancy.

[deleted account]

I don't know all the why's and stuff, but they will most likely induce you early. They figure they baby would be better off outside than on the inside at that point. Sometimes it means the placenta isn't functioning well or you might just be not eating enough for the energy you're expending. Always better to be safe than sorry. Best wishes.

Gaye - posted on 08/25/2011

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I'm no expert (husband is, however!) but if you're at 37 weeks already you're nearly there and I see no problem. If lungs are mature, delivery any time should be okay unless there are other issues. I weighed 5lbs.13oz and have been healthy all my life, praise God! I'm 5'7" and weigh 131 at 60. Don't worry. Just be sure to watch for movement of the baby. It's important to let the doctor know if you fail to sense movement for an unusual period of time. Be happy!

Nadine - posted on 08/25/2011

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My older son measured a good week behind throughout the entire pregnancy and I was told that is totally fine. With this pregnancy, I was always a week behind too but now I am over two weeks behind, meaning, no growth since week 35. That's why I am thinking something is up. Well Doc said nothing will happen between now and tuesday and then we will see what the u/s says and then go from there..*sigh*

Rian - posted on 08/25/2011

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Could be something and could be nothing. With my son he was spot on normal with all the measurements. With my daughter I was always measuring small with my fundal measurements. When I got to 40 weeks she still wasn't here and when they measured her they said her head was measuring at 36 weeks, but her body was measuring at 37. They wanted to do a stress test which came back fine and did another ultrasound and it was the same as the first. We think untimatly they were wrong with the conception date and she was just a smaller headed baby but was perfectly normal when she finally arrived. Good luck, try to be positive.

Aliza - posted on 08/25/2011

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I am 24 weeks pregnant but had a high resolution sono done at 16 weeks and 22 weeks. The umbilical cord inserted into the placenta is not dead center it is to the side and my doctor told me that could lead to the baby not growing/ measuring where he should be later in the pregnancy. She also said if that is what happens she would deliver me at 37 weeks. I am not sure if that is what you are experiencing.

Nadine - posted on 08/25/2011

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Well, my doctor initially offered me to induce me the week before my due date and I told him I wanted to go ino labor on my own. I suspect he takes that into account and only wants to induce if really medically neccessary. But I will def. ask again next week what he thinks about inducing @ 38 weeks. I am 37 weeks today. I am really torn, because if the baby is really doing fine, then I would want to give him all the time he needs to come naturally versus putting him under the stress of being induced.

Aly - posted on 08/25/2011

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There can be so many different reason that causes a baby to stop growing - but I think a lot of the time it's due to the placenta.
I had placenta lakes which restricted growth to the baby and knew early on (at the 20 week scan) that there was a high possibility that we would be having a small baby. The doctors were monitoring the growth and at 35 weeks I was told that it was best not to go full term and they would induce me at 37 weeks. I was terrified even though it was my second pregnancy. Like you there was steady growth even though it wasn't very much - but it was consistently slow.
There's very little risk with an induction, and at 37 weeks the baby is considered full term and the benefit is that you get to hold your sweet baby in your arms sooner! Having said that, with an induction, sometimes the baby gets stressed out and you'll have to have a c-section if they feel the baby is in danger. Another thing about an induction is that the contractions comes a lot quicker and it's a bit more painful because your body doesn't have time to ease into the labour pains.
At this point, I'm not sure why the doctors still want to wait.
My baby arrived at 36 w and 5 days and weighed 4 lbs 8 oz, I delivered naturally, no drugs, because the other benefit of an induction is a shorter labour. He is 5 weeks old now and has gained almost 3 lbs. and doing well.
Good luck!

Nadine - posted on 08/25/2011

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I had the NST today and the doctor said it looked perfectly fine and not to worry. Since the babys growth was symmetrical (head and body are proportional in size), he thinks it's just a small baby and he wants to do another u/s next week tuesday to see if anything happened growthwise.
He told me he wouldn't let me go past 39 weeks but for now to just wait a little longer. He assured me that if he would see any reasons to worry, he would induce earlier but for now he doesn't see an indication to do it since the amniotic fluid was fine.
I am not sure what to think about it. He told me if I feel the need, I can come in any time and they will check me.

Nicole - posted on 08/24/2011

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I measured small as well and they said she was growing fine but when she came out within a week of her due date she only weighed 5 lbs 11oz spent 3 days in NICU for temp issues and has been fine since. The problems seem to have come from the fact that I only had a 2 vesseled umbilical cord rather than the 3 and associated with that is low birth weight or IUGR as well as many other major and minor issues, fortunately my daughter has none of those and has recently turned 5 and is above average height and average weight. I agree induce you are in the safe zone if she's not growing she probably won't start again so why wait be safe.

[deleted account]

This happened with my sister and her last baby. He had somehow stopped growing and her doctor apparently didnt catch it untill amniotic fluid started leaking. My nephew had been loosing oxygen for who knows how long.
They had to induce her a month before her due date I think it was. He is healthy but he is not growing like he should be... honestly I would go with inducing just to be on the safe side.
Good Luck

Nadine - posted on 08/24/2011

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First of all, Jennifer, I am very sorry for your loss...but thank you for sharing your story with us. That definitley shows how important it is to react fast and not try to wait it out. Thank you all for your insight, this has helped me a lot. I think I will just ask to be induced asap when I go in tomorrow. The baby is moving and all but I am very nervous and worried and that can't be good either, specially since we are in a very difficult situation as a family anyway (military related, we are living in a hotelroom right now). I had a very traumatic m/c before I had my first son so I am still very easily worried about everything but who knows, maybe it's for a good reason.
I agree, I am considered full term tomorrow, so inducing me shouldn't be a big problem.
I will update this post as soon as I know more tomorrow:)

Yi Pin - posted on 08/24/2011

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My first baby also stopped growing around 37-38 weeks. My Dr had me induced almost the next couple of days ... all is well now, so if you trust your Dr, just go with him. :)

Jennifer - posted on 08/24/2011

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My story isn't as happy as the others. My baby stopped growing at about 7 months. They did the first ultrasound and said everthing looked fine. Five days later the Doc couldn't get a heartbeat. She had died. Don't know if she would have made it if they had taken her earlier, she was 7 and 1/2 months but very small. I also had placenta problems, caused by scar tissue. I've had two pregnancies since then, and neither had the same issue, but I also had both early by c-section. I found out to listen to my gut, I never felt that pregnancy was right. If you feel your doc is delaying too long, speak up! At this stage your baby is only a week away from full-term. There maybe issues with late development, though. I'll be praying for you and the baby, and I sure wish you the best.

Audrey - posted on 08/24/2011

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I would ask to get started A.S.A.P...The baby must have stopped growing for a reason...xx

Christie - posted on 08/24/2011

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And esp being 37 wks you're technically "full term" now so you're out of the preemie zone and it wouldn't be detrimental to have your baby now

Christie - posted on 08/24/2011

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My baby slowed down around 28wks and stopped by 36wks. They decided better out than in bc something obviously wasn't right. Glad they decided bc I ended up having a placental abruption during labor so much better he was 1 push away than me being at home. At the time they said the poor growth was probably bc my placenta had been slowly separating and they couldn't see it on the u/s. But now, at 10mths old he's had quite a few issues. He has a genetic disorder that causes small size and is fed through a tube in his stomach so there's no telling if IUGR was from the placenta or his disorder. I would say that if ever faced with that situation again, I would def go with the induction. You never know what could be causing it and don't want anything to get too bad in there. It saved my babies life.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/24/2011

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Oh yes, mine is totally healthy and happy today too! Should definitely mention that! Haha. She's 26 months and average in size. She grew really quickly after she was born and doubled her weight by 2 months old. By four months she'd tripled it.

Jodi - posted on 08/24/2011

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Much the same as Heather, in the last 6 weeks, my baby didn't grow. They had predicted that she would reach 7 lb with normal growth, full term, but she actually was only 5lb 2oz. Like Heather, my placenta didn't look healthy, and my OB had it sent off and tested, but was unable to ultimately identify the reason. My daughter was born with blood sugar issues, and also struggled immensely with temperature regulation, and had to be kept in the SCN for about 10 days because she was not feeding well and lacked a real sucking reflex. Basically, it was like having a premmie.



On the plus side, she is now a very healthy 6 1/2 year old. She is still small for her age, so her doctor and I suspect she was meant to be small anyway (which, at 7lb, she still would have been on the smallish side).

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