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What would cause a baby to stop gaining weight in the last month?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
The daughter of a friend of mom was induced (ended w/a c-section ) b/c the doc felt the baby stopped gaining weight and was worried that the placenta wasn't nourishing the baby.

Has anyone heard of this? She's a young (26ish), healthy girl and this is their 1st baby.

Unfortunately, she learned too late that the doc was not supportive of her birth plan. She was due on April 12th and they started her on a pitocin drip : on April 5. Well, you know what often happens...contractions were going well, then stalled at 5cm and the baby's heart rate kept dropping too low so off they took her for a c-section.

Anyway, I really feel for this girl. I was afraid this might happen to her b/c she was into all the testing during her pg and that often goes hand-in-hand w/birthing interventions. Everyone is different, I know, and things happen. I had a wonderful pg (refused every test and never regretted it) and an awesome birthing experience--at age 39. So, it seems unfair that this young, healthy girl didn't have the birthing experience she wanted.

I've always felt that a natural birth starts before you get pg and continues throughout your pg (eating healthy, not overworking yourself, etc., etc.) I'm sad that she was talked into a lot of stuff throughout her pg.

Well, I'm not trying to play judge and jury. I just feel that every woman is entitled to a natural birth (no one wants major abdominal surgery) and should be educated on how to increase their odds of having one before they even get pg.

When my friend e-mailed me and said they started her DD on a pitocin drip, I sighed and knew what might come.

She and her mom (my friend) have already started talking about how to avoid this with her next one so she clearly is not happy with how things went.

Fortunately mom and baby are doing well--he weighs 5lbs13oz and she's breastfeeding!
post #2 of 15
What would cause a baby to stop gaining weight in the last month?

My best guess, not knowing the entire details, would be that doc was basing all this on ultrasound measurements, which are notoriously inaccurate late in pregnancy.
post #3 of 15
I thought it was normal for weight gain to slow or stop in the last month?
post #4 of 15
In general, babies gain an average of 1/2 pound each week during the last 5 weeks of pregnancy.

Ultrasound measurements compared to previous measurements would be accurate indicators of growth (or lack thereof) because they're talking about a difference (or a lack thereof). In other words, say they estimate the baby's weight at 5 lbs one day and the following week, the baby's measuring exactly the same way (5 lbs). They may not be right about the actual size of the baby (he may weigh 4 or 6 pounds) but they will be correct that the baby isn't growing.

I also don't get the "prenatal testing = birth interventions" logic. I refused plenty of prenatal tests with Eli and still had plenty of interventions; my sister had every prenatal test known to man and had almost no interventions in her births (younger niece had shoulder dystocia and was stuck for one pain while the doctor manuvered her shoulders loose).

Why might a baby stop gaining weight? That's a harder question to answer. I would guess that the most common reason would be hypertension in the mother, followed by inadequate diet/malnutrition in the mother. Other possibilities: a genetic anomaly associated with IUGR (this would/should have been detected long before the third trimester), juvenile diabetes in the mother or severe hypoglycemia, deterioration of the placenta (very unlikely before term, but possible), placental abruption... I'm sure I could come up with more. They're all very very rare, except for the hypertension which is relatively common.
post #5 of 15
Baby's gain a half pound to full pound a week in the last month of pregnancy. (reference: Miriam Stoppard's books) This was the case for my babies as well as most people I know.

Some people experience IUGR. This is a "real" condition and can be dangerous. We had friends whose baby died from IUGR. They refused an induction at 37 weeks because they felt like since they were small people and that US can be more than a pound off either way, they waited. At the 39th week appointment the doctor could not pick up heart tones. They still had to have a csection due to some problem with the baby's position and situation (not clear on the situation part) The baby weighed around 4lbs, and based on what the father said the placenta didn't look right.
I know two people that were induced for IUGR, 35 weeks and 37 weeks. Both had vaginal deliveries and both breastfed. One baby was a little over 3lbs and the other was 4lbs. The lady that was induced at 35 weeks went on to have another baby that weighed over 8lbs and another that weighed 9.5lbs.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by eilonwy
In general, babies gain an average of 1/2 pound each week during the last 5 weeks of pregnancy.

Ultrasound measurements compared to previous measurements would be accurate indicators of growth (or lack thereof) because they're talking about a difference (or a lack thereof). In other words, say they estimate the baby's weight at 5 lbs one day and the following week, the baby's measuring exactly the same way (5 lbs). They may not be right about the actual size of the baby (he may weigh 4 or 6 pounds) but they will be correct that the baby isn't growing.

I also don't get the "prenatal testing = birth interventions" logic. I refused plenty of prenatal tests with Eli and still had plenty of interventions; my sister had every prenatal test known to man and had almost no interventions in her births (younger niece had shoulder dystocia and was stuck for one pain while the doctor manuvered her shoulders loose).
I agree. I don't get that logic either. I also know people who have very little prenatal testing and have very holisitic type pregnancies and have epidurals and csections. (and planned it that way~!)
post #7 of 15
This same thing happened to me! I was 26, and according to my measurements, my baby had slowed growth, or was supposedly very small (4.5 lbs estimated). I was 38 wks when they decided to induce me. This decision was made by a team of midwives. But, they took a more natural route to induction than pitocin. We picked a date for induction in the next 1/2 week or so and then they told me to try all sorts of things to go into labor on my own. That didn't work, so I went into the hospital and my midwife stripped my membranes (ouch!) and then I walked for awhile. No labor from that either, so she then broke my water. I immediately went into labor, contractions 5 min apart. I birthed my son 6.5 hours later, with no intervention and no drugs. And he was 5lbs, 9 oz.

So, I guess to answer your question, I'm not sure what might have happened to your friend, but in my case, my placenta had started to calcify and wasn't delivering proper nutrition anymore. The midwives wanted to get him out and nursing ASAP so he could get some nourishment. I was eating as much as possible and very healthily to gain as much weight as possible for my baby. Therefore I would highly disagree that the lack of weight gain for my son was due to malnourishment on my part. Everyone's bodies are different and every pregnancy is different.

It's too bad that it all ended in a cs. I wish she could have had a more natural, uninvasive birth like mine. I had a wonderful experience!
post #8 of 15

Oohh! One more thing...

Advice for your friend's daughter...

Get a midwife next time! And a doula!
post #9 of 15
In everything I've read, they give weight gains of about 1/4 ounce a week in the last four or five weeks. Maybe the thought of 1/2 pound a week is why people freak out about going over their due date - though, at around 40 weeks, the weight gain nearly stops, it is a slower rate after the due date, that's for sure.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
When I said that I feel a natural birth starts before you become pg, I meant to say that *increasing* your odds of a natural birth starts before you become pg. *Generally* speaking, a woman who undergoes a lot of pre-natal testing lacks the confidence in her own body to birth. Women who are not in optimal health prior to conception may increase their chances of pg complications (toxemia, high blood pressure, etc.) and therefore, increase the possibility that induction or a C/S will occur.

In the case of my friend's DD, she went along w/every prenatal test offered during her pg. She basically gave up control to the doc so it's not unusual that she continued along those lines with the birth. I don't blame her. I blame the establishment for brainwashing her into believing she had to do all this.
post #11 of 15
i'd be curious to know how big your friend's baby was...
post #12 of 15
One of my twins didn't grow (according to u/s) at all in the last month of my pg. I think it was accurate, too, because my twins had been the same size up until that point, and one kept growing and the other stopped. I had a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks (because both boys were breech). My tiny baby was 6 lbs. 3 oz, and my bigger baby was 8 lbs. 7 oz. The little guy's placenta had just stopped working right. I think my body had just had enough, what with growing twins and all. I gained almost 80 pounds eating LOTS of healthy, high-protein foods, and was 22 years old. No one could give me any reason for why he stopped growing.

My bigger baby is still bigger at a year, but only slightly so.

Lex
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by pamamidwife
In everything I've read, they give weight gains of about 1/4 ounce a week in the last four or five weeks.
1/4 ounce? That doesn't make any sense at all to me. Consider this: The average baby born at 40 weeks weighs about 7.5 pounds, the average baby born at 38 weeks weighs about 6.5 pounds... this works for about 35 weeks to 41 weeks, and then it slows down significantly. I've never seen or heard anything about only 1/4 ounce. Why would you be expected to gain nearly a pound a week at the end of your pregnancy if only 1/4 ounce was going to the baby?
post #14 of 15
oh, geez, thanks for pointing that out. I meant a 1/4 POUND a week. Lordy.

Back to our regularly scheduled conversation! lol!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by SamuraiEarthMama
i'd be curious to know how big your friend's baby was...
5 lbs 13 oz.

Her mom (my friend) nursed all 3 of her kids (including twins) and was into AP before it had a name. Fortunately her DD is nursing, but is using a pacifier, which, this early (4 days old and her milk was just really starting to come in after the C/S) can create nursing probs. The mom is not into sleeping w/the baby...is teaching him to sleep in his own bed instead of being held...at 4 days old

Well, at least she's breastfeeding. I hope that doesn't go south.
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