Help! I've been told my baby is too small. What should I do?

The year of 2017 seems to be the year of my baby is too small stories. 

I’ve met a number of women this year with newborns who were told this same story and all of them had followed their Obstetricians advice and were induced before their due dates.  At this time, I won’t discuss how labour progresses when we are induced before the cervix is ripe, that’s another story for another time. Everyone of these prematurely induced babies showed no signs of uterine growth restriction and all weighed heavier than they had been estimated.

This issue of “small for gestational age” became more personal for me when one of my birth doula clients was faced with the same comments from her GP. My client was very concerned for her baby. No mum wants to hear that all her good eating and care of her unborn child has resulted in a tiny baby. Together we investigated the concern, at the same time following the advice of the hospital to have growth scans and check the function of the placenta and amniotic fluid volumes.

When keeping in mind that ultrasound scanning is known to have a 250 to 500 gram discrepancy. This is a substantial difference in weight for a 37 week old fetus. We also discovered that the GP was measuring the fundus very differently than the hospital midwives coming up with a much smaller measurement. My client’s placenta was functioning well, the amniotic fluid amount was normal, heart beat was fantastic. Her profile was a model of great health with none of the underlying causes of small for gestational age risk factors. 

Small for gestational age risk factors include the problems listed below. (This information is referenced from the University of Rochester Medical Center.)

  • Existing problems with the mother
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease or respiratory disease
  • Malnutrition or anemia
  • Infection
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Weighing less than 100 pounds
  • Possible problems with the uterus and placenta
  • Decreased blood flow in the uterus and placenta
  • Placenta detaches from the uterus
  • Placenta attaches low in the uterus
  • Infection in the tissues around the baby 

My client made a conscious effort to eat more often and decided to trust that all was fine with her baby as there was no medical reason to think otherwise. The baby was born in the water at 41 weeks gestation, very healthy weighing 7 pounds.

Here is a similar topic I found on a chat forum

Went in for my weekly check up (38 weeks and 4 days) and had an ultrasound to check the baby's size. Apparently she is measuring small - they think just under 6 pounds at 5 lbs and 13 oz. They explained that it's a bit smaller than they would expect at this time especially given that I was a big baby and so was my husband. So they feel it's safer to get her out now, knowing everything else looks healthy, not risking that the placenta isn't getting her the nutrients she needs. I guess because I am basically full term, they feel it's better for her to be out than in in case she's not growing inside? Has anyone else been through something like this? I am, of course, so excited to meet her! But just want to feel like she's okay and I can't tell if I should be more worried or what! Please please share your thoughts!?


Here are some of the replies received

I had this. Was induced at 37 weeks and had my gorgeous baby on Valentine's Day. He was predicted to be 5lb but was actually 6lb! They warned me that I had a higher chance of a c- section as small babies get distressed more easily (I didn't, he was fine!) and that I might have to stay in if he didn't feed well (I didn't, he was fine! 

Good luck x

I just had this same thing happen last week. I was 37 weeks but baby girl was measuring 5lbs 7oz. They induced me on February 18th & I delivered by c-section on February 20th. Baby girl is perfect & healthy weighing 7 pounds!


This is interesting, I had an ultrasound at 35 weeks (now 37). They said she was 4lbs 5 oz. My doctor said she thinks she is just going to be a smaller baby and that her growth is consistent. There has been no mention about inducing me. She doesn't seem to be worried either. In fact, she said in the past weeks that she may let me go further than my due date. I put on 5 lbs since my last appointment and my baby has really grown since then. I wonder what this all means.... It's so hard to know. 

Hang in there ladies.


Me too! Baby girl is weighing in at 5 pounds at her 36 week ultrasound. They feel she will get more nutrients outside of my body than in. So I am being induced on Monday at 37 weeks! It's very scary... But my doctor keeps assuring me that everything will be fine. I asked about nicu and she said it's possible but rare due to smaller babies having more trouble regulating body heat. I asked if I had to worry and she said not at all! She is totally healthy just very little. 


Yes! my baby girl was induced at 38 weeks. She came out happy and healthy at 6lbs 7oz 20in


I'd ask for a second opinion. My friend was told her baby would be under 3kg at birth...scan was very wrong as he was a very healthy 3.7kg at birth.


My Thoughts ...

If I was to give any advice after this experience it would be this. If your told your baby is too small or too big please look further, investigate, do personal research and ask questions. Get a second opinion and a third if needed. Everyone of these women I spoke too didn’t need to be induced, their babies where in perfect health and not small at all. Medical diagnosis is a fabulous tool and saves lives when it’s needed.