Baby’s Stomach Measuring Small on Ultrasound? 5 Main Causes

babys stomach measuring small on ultrasound

Pregnancy is a beautiful yet challenging process where everything needs to be monitored to ensure there are no issues. Despite this, there are certain times when one feels lost, confused, or worried about certain things. A common reason women worry is unusual findings in an ultrasound. Many people ask about their baby’s stomach measuring small on the ultrasound, but there is no need to worry.

Every child is different. Some babies are born with something called fetal growth restriction. It is more commonly called intrauterine growth restriction. When a kid in the mother’s womb (a fetus) does not develop as predicted, this is known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The baby is smaller in size than would be expected at this time of the prenatal period. This is referred to as a baby’s “gestational age.” This can cause a small fetal abdominal circumference.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of IUGR newborns develop quickly after delivery, during the first 3 to 6 months of life, with most of them reaching full catch-up development by the age of two. Eating a balanced and diversified diet throughout pregnancy can ensure that you obtain the majority of the nutrients and vitamins you require.

However, if you are pregnant or have a probability of becoming pregnant, you should take an additional folic acid vitamin. 400 mcg of folic acid is the recommended daily amount, starting before you get pregnant and continuing until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. This reduces the possibility of difficulties with the baby’s growth during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

It is natural to want healthy babies. With advanced medical equipment, it is possible to determine what the baby and the mother need to ensure they’re both healthy through pregnancy and after birth. Measuring the baby’s growth is very important to make sure the baby continues to grow healthily.

How To Measure Baby’s Growth Rate?

It might be difficult to take your baby’s measures at home. But it isn’t necessary; you may always wait until your next doctor’s appointment to check how your baby is developing. Some parents, nevertheless, choose to keep track of their baby’s height, weight, or head circumference between visits. Your baby’s healthcare practitioner will record their measurements and then plot them in their growth chart at each doctor’s appointment.

Since an inch or even a pound may make a big difference in where the baby lands on the growth charts, the baby is carefully monitored. It might be difficult to collect trustworthy and exact figures, particularly if your infant is very squirmy, but medical personnel is well trained in this area. You can also check your baby’s measurements at home; however, they may not be as exact as when done by a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant. Nevertheless, parents can occasionally pick up on errors made at the doctor’s clinic or detect development concerns beforehand.

When you have your baby’s measurements, enter them into the growth percentile calculator to see how he or she compares to other newborns his or her age.

How to Measure the Circumference of the Head

Why is the shape of your baby’s head important? Because a person’s brain grows in proportion to the size of their skull.

As a result, if a baby’s brain is just not developing properly, its head size may not be rising as expected. If, on the contrary, the skull develops too fast, it might indicate a condition such as hydrocephalus, in which there is a buildup of fluid in the brain. Both illnesses are rare, but they should be ruled out.

In addition, newborns’ heads are abnormally large in comparison to adults’ heads; therefore, you shouldn’t be concerned if your baby’s head appears to be quite big. Think about your own proportions, too: Your kid may have a large or tiny head if you or your partner do as well.

At home, you can check your baby’s head size as follows:

  • Put an elastic, non-stretchable tape measure around their skull at its widest point – just above their brows and ears and the back where the head curves up from the spine.
  • The idea is to take the diameter of your baby’s head at the widest point.
  • Take three measurements and select the largest reading to the nearest 0.1 cm.

How to Measure Baby’s Weight

In a clinic, the baby is measured using a baby scale. If the weight is measured in pounds, it is done up to the nearest ounce, and if it is measured in kilograms, it is done to the closest tenth of a kilo.

  • Any accurate scale will suffice if you do not own a baby scale. Undress your infant completely with no diapers, take your baby, and step on the scale with him or her. Make a note of that number.
  • Then, place your kid in a secure location and step on the scale separately. Subtract that figure from your total weight to get an estimate of your baby’s weight.

How to Measure Baby’s Length

A physician, nurse, or nursing assistant examines your kid while they are lying down, taking their height from the highest point of their head to the base of their heel. For more precise findings, some doctors employ a piece of unique equipment having a headboard and a moveable footboard.

For a home measurement of your infant’s length:

  • Extend a tape measure from the tip of your baby’s skull towards the bottom of their foot. It’s best when you have someone assist you since you’ll have to carefully extend your baby’s leg straight.
  • Take measurements to the closest 0.1 cm.
  • Your figure will probably not be as precise as the doctor’s, but it will be close.

What Is Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) Or Fetal Growth Restriction?

Fetal growth restriction (FGR), formerly known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), is a disorder that occurs when a fetus is smaller than expected as a result of not growing normally within the womb.

Mild FGR rarely causes long-term issues. In fact, most newborns with it catch up in height and weight by the age of two. However, severe FGR can cause catastrophic injury to a kid both before and after delivery. The severity of the difficulties is determined by the causes and the degree of the growth limitation. It also depends on when the gestation begins.

FGR may result in the following:

  • Birth defects and low birth weight.
  • Having difficulty dealing with the pressure of vaginal birth.
  • Reduced oxygen levels.
  • Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar.
  • Autoimmune disease.
  • Low Apgar scores, a test administered shortly after birth to determine the child’s physical status and if it needs special medical treatment.
  • Meconium aspiration occurs when a baby ingests its own feces while in the womb, which can cause serious lung disease.
  • Having difficulty managing one’s body temperature.
  • Exceptionally high RBC count.

In certain rare cases, FGR can result in a stillbirth. It can potentially lead to long-term growth issues. FGR can’t always be avoided. But a healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce your risk.

Symptoms of FGR

The most common sign of FGR is a newborn that is too small for his or her stage of pregnancy. This happens when the estimated fetal weight is less than the 10th percentile or less than 90% of newborns who are at the same gestational age.

According to the source of FGR, the newborn may be underweight or appear malnourished. They might be slender and pallid, with loose, flaky skin. The umbilical cord is typically thin and drab rather than thick and glossy.

FGR does not, however, occur in all infants that are too small for their gestational age.

What Happens If Fetal Abdominal Circumference Is Small?

What Happens If Fetal Abdominal Circumference Is Small?

In later stages of pregnancy, fetal abdominal circumference has been the single most significant measurement to take. It provides a clearer image of infant size and weight instead of just age. Serial measurements are important for tracking the baby’s growth and development. The baby’s abdomen measuring small during pregnancy is commonly related to significant structural, amniotic fluid levels and chromosomal problems.

Is There Any IUGR Treatment Available?

Nutrient injections could be given to the baby through the intravascular port system, which lowers the placental complications by increasing its metabolism and perfusion.

If the baby’s mother has a medical issue, doctors will assist her in managing it. This might involve ensuring she consumes good and nutritious food and gains the appropriate amount of weight throughout her pregnancy. Some mothers may want to stay bedridden to optimize blood flow to the baby.

Doctors may consider accelerating labor and delivering early in some cases. They may do so if the baby appears to be no longer developing or if there is an issue with the placenta or blood circulation in the umbilical cord.

Doctors could go for a C-section if a vaginal delivery seems too risky for the mother or the child.

5 Main Causes Of Fetal Growth Restriction

Nutritional Deficiency

IUGR frequently occurs when the fetus does not receive adequate nutrition and food. This can occur if there is an issue with the following:

  • The placenta is the tissue responsible for supplying nourishment and oxygen to the child in the womb.
  • The circulation of blood through the umbilical vein links the newborn to the placenta.

Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoke is a major cause of fetal development limitation. This issue is hypothesized to be caused by a decrease in blood flow and circulation to the placenta, resulting in placental damage.

Medical Conditions in Mothers

Medical conditions such as lupus, anemia, and blood clotting disorders in mothers can lead to FGR. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) is an immune system condition that increases the risk of blood clots. This can also result in FGR.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Pregnancy chronic hypertension is linked to intrauterine growth restriction or premature delivery. Women with increased blood pressure in the first half of their pregnancy and a faster increase in BP in the second half have lighter and shorter kids for their gestational age in general.

Twin Pregnancy

Twin pregnancies pose a higher risk of death and disability. Many pregnancy problems are more likely in multiple pregnancies than in individual pregnancies. One of the most common diseases is fetal growth restriction (FGR). It causes complications in 25-47% of twin pregnancies.

Prevention of FGR

While FGR can develop even in otherwise healthy moms, there are steps mothers can take to lower the risk factors of FGR and increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and infant.

Maintain your prenatal appointments. Early detection of possible issues allows for early treatment.

Keep an eye on your baby’s actions. A baby that seldom moves or ceases to respond could be experiencing a problem. Contact your doctor if you detect any abnormalities in your baby’s activity.

Examine your prescriptions. Some prescriptions a mother is using for just another health concern might sometimes cause complications with her developing fetus.

Consume nutritious foods. Healthy foods and enough calories keep your infant fed.

Get enough rest. Rest will improve your health and may even aid in the growth of your kid. Every night, attempt to get eight hours of sleep (or more). Resting for an hour or two, mostly in the evening, is also beneficial.

Maintain a healthy way of living. Quit drinking, doing drugs, or smoking for the sake of your baby’s health.

Take Care of Yourself to Have a Healthy Baby

As a mother, the best you can do is to be healthy yourself. Make sure you get enough nutrients and consult with your doctor about any questions you might have. Most importantly, don’t assume anything is fine without confirming it, and always put your own health first because everything you do will affect your baby.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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