baby in 20th percentile according to u/s - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm 33wks tomoro and just got back from a growth scan u/s. dh is 5'6 and i'm 5'1. u/s estimates weight at 4lbs 1oz. I thought that was excellent. then doc comes in and says, baby is in 20th percentile; come back in four weeks for another growth scan; they do this for babies falling under 25th percentile. at 21 weeks he was in the 30th percentile.

should i be concerned about this? can someone explain this percentile business? i thought 4lbs was right where his weight is supposed to be at 33 wks.

EDD 12/15/09, first time mama
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#2 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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ultrasounds can be off by POUNDS.. i would not worry a bit. and 20th percentile? please ! both my healthy daughters were always 10th or below as babies. i have never even heard of docs measuring percentiles in utero...ultrasounds are so notoriously wrong- dont worry

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#3 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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Ultrasounds are notorious for being incorrect with weight predictions. I wouldn't think that 4 lbs 1 oz at 33 weeks is something to worry about either. A friend of mine delivered her baby at 33 weeks and he was 5 lbs and considered HUGE for that gestational age. My midwife predicted my baby was around 4 lbs at my 33w5d appointment last week from feeling him in my belly. I don't put too much stock in that either. Before DD was born, everyone was saying she was going to be around 7.5 lbs at birth. The OB office said this based on u/s, homebirth midwife based on feeling baby. She was 1 oz shy of 9 lbs and all fat. I've heard very few weight estimates that are right on.

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#4 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i didn't think to clarify with the doc, but could baby be in 20th percentile not for weight - but for how long/tall he should be? in which case, is that really a prob? i guess the thing that's bugging me a lil is that he was 30th at 21 wks and now he's 20th. but if the u/s aren't reliable... then.. i suppose, i should relax.. but then, why do they put so much stock in it?

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#5 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Someone has to be in the 20th percentile so there's no reason it shouldn't be you. Some people have larger babies, others smaller babies. Scans can be so far off it's more of a guestimate rather than a figure, I don't think any ob would put money down on a baby coming out at the weight they 'predict'. I think I'm measuring about the same as you aswell. My doctors haven't said anything about worrying or not. They said he's fine. I'm back in a month anyway but that's because we lost Isabel so we're monitored more.

Someone else with more or less the same weight baby in a different country hasn't been told to worry, so why should you worry. As long as you're baby has the right number of limbs and no major problems then just relax.

Clare briefly mother for 3 weeks to Isabel 25-12-08, Soaking up every precious moment with my little guy Dec-10. My blog link is in my profile.

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#6 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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They were off by three pounds with my baby. She was five lbs and they told me she'd be eight or nine. This was at, let's see, 36 weeks, right before I gave birth. I told everyone that she'd be big and not to bother with newborn clothes. She ended up wearing preemie clothes for two months.
I just don't worry about weight with either of my girls. They are both on the small side.

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#7 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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As long as you're baby has the right number of limbs and no major problems then just relax.
I agree with this. my OB went into a panic because my u/s measurements were all at 99-100% including weight but my DH/I are both very tall.. . my point being, If you are on the smaller size, as is your DH I wouldn't worry. There are tons of people in this world of all sizes and weights and we don't panic when everyone isn't all within a small predefined range so why should we with a baby.. ?

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#8 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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That's hilarious because my baby measured 33 weeks (4lbs) at 31 and the doctor said she was huge! What?
Drs can be idiots. Like you need something else to freak you out!

Snarky Army wife, mom to 2 girls : 6, : 9, twin boys, 4 : and born 12/10.
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#9 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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I would put zero faith in that estimate.

First, so what? If there is a chart that covers all the "normal" growth then SOMEONE has to be in the 20th percentile, right? Being totally off the chart *might* possibly be a concern but I wouldn't worry at all about being at the higher or the lower end.

Second, like pp said, ultrasounds are notoriously waaaay wrong on weight estimates. One dr. suggested that DD would be well over 11 pounds when I was pg with her. She was 9.9. Big enough, but certainly not nearing 12 pounds!

I wouldn't worry a bit, mama!!!

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#10 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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Sorry, not in your DDC, but I read this and I thought I'd just tell you my story. My daughter was a 33 week preemie. I had a biophysical profile the day she was born and they estimated her weight at 4 pounds. She was 4 pounds 1 ounce at birth, so they estimated really well. No one ever said anything about her size being a concern. She is a very petite 4 year old now, but I think that genetics more than anything else. I am only 5' and my husband is around 5' 8'' or 5' 9'' (and tall for his family.) It seems really odd to me that they would be this concerned considering your size and that of your husband. Have they taken genetics into consideration? Some of us are just little!
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#11 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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My son was almost two pounds higher than their "estimate".... small parents=small babies. I wouldn't worry!
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#12 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by preciousstone View Post
i didn't think to clarify with the doc, but could baby be in 20th percentile not for weight - but for how long/tall he should be? in which case, is that really a prob? i guess the thing that's bugging me a lil is that he was 30th at 21 wks and now he's 20th. but if the u/s aren't reliable... then.. i suppose, i should relax.. but then, why do they put so much stock in it?
Doctors are trained to look for problems. They will look for a problem even when there may not be a real problem. When I went into pre-term labor with my DS1, I had to switch over my care from a birth center run by midwives to an OB practice and a perinatalogist. I had to see the peri once a week for ultrasounds for over 2 months. Every single visit, the guy had to tell me something might be wrong with my baby. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I think it's because that is what he has been trained to do. I got c-section scares at every visit because my DS1 was measuring big especially his head. The peri told me that not only could I not birth him vaginally because of his head size, he might have hydrocephalus and complications from that. Turns out, he just has a big ole head. Just like his father. DS1 ended up being born vaginally (and quickly mind you) with a 15 inch head. He's perfectly healthy and advanced for his age. He attributes his big head to having lots of brains.

Di Linh, mama to DS1 (7), DD(4), DS2 (b 12/01/09)
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#13 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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I would say this sounds about right too. Say babies gain an ounce a day in utero +1 oz per week extra, although they slow down at the very end or when they go overdue. They say a half lb a week. So, how many days do we have left ladies? My brain is in a funk. If you have 49 days to go, then that gives the baby another 3 lbs7oz= 7lbs8oz. Sounds good to me. I have had 2 FT on their due dates babies at 6lb4oz and 6lb11oz. I am 5'5 and my DH is 5'8. Actually, my oldest that was the smallest on his due date, his father was 5'10". I have had U/S and never had any issues with percentiles. My last baby was 7lbs even at 15 days late. I had one that was 6lb4oz at 10 days late. I just have little babies.

I agree with the PP that said the drs are trained to look for problems. I would decline the other U/S. Tell them that your insurance probably won't pay for it, and that you don't see any need to worry. And, the thing is, prenatal scare is just that. It is a good way for the dr to have you worried enough that you will put all your faith in him. But, that is my just not so humble opinion. Kymberli
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#14 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 01:22 PM
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These percentile ranks include very tall people too. You and your husband are both on the short side, so there's a good chance your baby will be too. Less height means less weight (usually, you get my drift).

Babies naturally come in lots of weights and sizes. Somply being smaller than average is no need for worry in itself.
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#15 of 21 Old 10-27-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by evinmom View Post
Doctors are trained to look for problems. They will look for a problem even when there may not be a real problem.
:

I had an u/s at 36 weeks for DS1, because the midwife thought he seemed like a small baby by palpation. He was supposedly 4# that day and I thought I had 4+ weeks to go in the pregnancy. I had him 2 days later and he was 5# 9 oz.

I would not worry at all. Percentiles are not that meaningful, and you still have several weeks to go for the baby to grow big and strong!
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#16 of 21 Old 10-29-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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DDC crashing. My ds was a 33 weeker and weighed 4lbs 13oz-I was told he was pretty big for his gestation. He wasn't huge, but they seemed impressed-especially since he actually had some chunk on him

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#17 of 21 Old 10-29-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Yeah they can be off. I got one today for a variety of reasons and at 32 weeks (exactly) mine was weighing in at 3.28 lbs (less than half an ounce off for "average" babies at this gestation). Before we even began the doctor told me they are crazy off at this point and so long as they are within 2 weeks of your edd and a pound or so of the "average" then they are doing really well (they being the tech and the machine).

I know I make small babies (my biggest to date was 6 lb 13 oz) and if I did my math right this one will be in the same range as my other 2. I wouldn't fret it. Honestly, that seems like a nice sized baby to me! I'm always surprised when they weigh less at this point. I don't know why.

Just as "proof" how off they can be: I had an early ultrasound in order to set up patient status at my backup and so I could get a gender scan with no problems. This was within the first trimester so a realitvely more accurate scan. Based on head measurement only (why they only used that is beyond me ) I was due earlier than my chart says. There was no physical way that was possible. At my gender scan she was measuring pretty dead on with some measurements off a day or so. This scan she's due almost 2 weeks later (though weight matches up with my current gestation). That's with her head firmly lodged in my pelvis and her feet basically touching my diaphraghm (fundal height measuring consistent with 32 weeks as well).

So to sum up:
Early scan within first 13 weeks- earlier due date for being "bigger"
Gender scan at 22ish weeks- consistent with my due date
Scan today at 32 weeks exactly- weight is correct but other measurements put me 2 weeks less than I am.

And like a pp said: dr.'s are trained to find issues. There are just too many variables and with such cramped quarters you can't really expect legit numbers.

(FWIW DD2 was SHORT....barely 18 inches at birth..her height has often dropped her into lower percentiles while her weight is average. It balances out. )

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#18 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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Oh I just remembered something! Maybe, if you are so inclined, look into studies on surrogate mothers that are gestating for a couple larger than her or a different race (since we all know certain size attributes in general go with certain races). I don't remember all the details but the basic jist they were finding was that while in utero the baby was more proportioned to the size of the gestational mother and that once born (i.e. free from certain room restrictions ) they took on the size characteristics. Obviously not all the details are going to apply to you but I suggest that because that's where I've seen the most studies done on it. Might be worth looking into, especially if you can find it for non-surrogates.

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#19 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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DDC crashing. what they might be concerned about is not so much what percentile, but whether the relative size is decreasing, which could indicate a problem with the placenta or something. not saying this is the case! just from my own recent experience, they put me through the paces with biophysical profiles and growth estimates. my baby was at one point 60th percentile, then 40th, then 20th. their concern was that his growth was slowing. they were pushing me to plan to induce during the 39th week, which i didn't want to do. as fate would have it, he arrived two weeks early (on his own) and was 6 pounds even, 19 inches. a feisty little guy. completely healthy.

good luck!

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#20 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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but the basic jist they were finding was that while in utero the baby was more proportioned to the size of the gestational mother and that once born (i.e. free from certain room restrictions ) they took on the size characteristics. Obviously not all the details are going to apply to you but I suggest that because that's where I've seen the most studies done on it. Might be worth looking into, especially if you can find it for non-surrogates.
As the wife of someone whose family produces big babies, I can tell you this happened with my kids. Both were smaller than average when born, I measured months behind the whole time, and they shot into the 95th% within two weeks. My children are humoungous. SIL is much bigger than I am, and her kids were born big, and stayed big, but our children evened out by four months, even though hers were born about 75% bigger (5.5 lbs more) than mine.

I also agree wholeheartedly that:

(1) Ultrasounds are notoriously unreliable and I'd not put any stock in them whatsoever, and
(2) Somebody has to be in the 20th%, mathematically speaking, and
(3) It's well within the range of normal- usually we don't worry about babies until they're in the 5th% with normal-sized parents, and even then, maybe not!

Don't worry. Your baby will be fine!

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#21 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the reassurance ladies!

EDD 12/15/09, first time mama
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