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how accurate is fundal height?

2075 Views 14 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Marieke
i went to the MW last tuesday and i was 16 weeks 2 days. my fundal height was right on for 16 weeks..a few fingers below my navel.. but since then, a week and two days.. the top of my fundus is now a finger width above my navel, which i thought was supposed to be after 20 weeks.. i guess im wondering how accurate this measurement is.. ive been checking all along and i know that im not feeling something different. its very obvious, my uturus is not tipped even in the slightest..sooo.. should i be worried, should i call my MW and have her check it out? or can it just be that baby had a big growth spurt or something?
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That's a good question.....I know with my DS I measured ahead occasionally....a week or so. The doctor told me I was going to have one giagantic child! But by the end it had evened out....I think like they say all babies develop differently.
This time at my 18 week check up I was measuring 22 weeks. Not sure why there is such a difference this time....which I guess is why he is so adamant about me having an ultrasound. He wants to see if I am further along then I think, having twins, or just one BIG baby!!~
im trying to remember my pregnancy with my son.. i know in the early months my MW was like "WOAH THATS A BIG BABY" but then when i changed MW's she said baby was totally normal size and he was 7lbs8oz at birth.. so he was small imo..
Babies grow at different rates, so your fundal height may be "off" a bit from the "normal" measurements. The measurements of fundal heights (just like babies' growth charts) are based on averages. Some mamas have longer torsos than others ... some mamas' belly buttons are farther away from their pubic bone than others...make sense?

At 25 weeks I was measuring at 28 and my midwife didn't see a problem at all. I measured the most "ahead" when pregnant with my first, who was 7 lbs 2 oz when he was born (OB said, by feel and by ultrasound that he would be 10+ lbs!). I don't think I ever measured ahead with my largest child (9.5 lbs at birth).
I hope not! I was measuring 6 weeks ahead at my last appt. And there's only one in there.
It seems to me that what most of the books say is average is *primarily* average for first time mothers. Of course some first time mamas show earlier and some mothers always grow by the books, but I know a lot of mamas who get bigger faster with each consecutive baby. I was measuring 23 weeks when I was just 16 weeks this time around! But now at 19 1/2 weeks, I'm still measuring around 23 weeks - so it's starting to even out. It's probably just the way you carry - my midwife said I probably just carry high and that's normal for me. xo
The other thing too is that babies don't just grow at a smooth and steady pace. They grow in fits and starts. So the baby may be measuring ahead right now, but may slow down a bit and catch up to her time.
I always measure ahead but it is b/c I am short from belly button to pubic bone. So it looks like my babies are big but they are not - I am just short. Also, I stick straight out.
I measured way ahead with both of my girls. U/S weight estimates for DD1 were off by THREE pounds, too! Nobody knew why, it's just how my body is. I make tiny babies, but I look like I'm carrying huge ones.
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IMO they aren't very accurate. They are better used to make sure there is growth. If you stopped growing for a while then it would be a worry. If you consitstently measured ahead for a few appts then maybe you are further ahead. Fundal height can be off depending on how the baby is positioned (breech will make a bigger measurment, posterior smaller, baby drops its smaller..etc). If there is a HUGE jump from one apt to the next then maybe it could be a problem - like poly. Babies have growth spurts at different times, like someone else said. Early on its esp not reliable (before 20 weeks most drs and midwives don't even bother measuring). Its also good to know whats normal for you. I always measure big at the beginning and then level off and by the last tri. I think my uterus just starts out big. Even when I had my 9lber I only measured ahead at the beginning.

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There were a few visits to the midwife where I was measuring 2 weeks ahead - but then in the last few visits it's been right on. Oh, and during one of the visits the baby was lying sort of to the side and it made my measurements a little ahead as well. My midwife says that it usually evens out towards the end of the pregnancy.
I don't think they are accurate.
I've heard people say they are innaccurate after 20 weeks since babies grow at different rates, and I've heard people say they are innacurate before 20 weeks.
I measured 15 weeks, at my 11-12 week appointment, but at 16 weeks, I measured 16 weeks. *shrug*
I haven't been measure since my 20 week appointment, but I imagine they are more accurate the first pregnancy, than they are the second or more.
My opinion after this pregnancy is that the fundal height measurements are completely worthless except to make sure that growth is taking place. The 1st few times I was measured (10 weeks and 13 weeks) I was 4 cm over. The 3rd time I was 6 cm over. So I had an U/S which simply said I was NOT carrying twins. Despite that, my size grew astronomically until in my 27th week I was about 42.5 cm!!! I was worried, but some MDC people told me it was inaccurate as a diagnostic tool.

Alas, I was having some backaches and my son needed to see his chiropractor so I made an appointment with the chiropractor as well. Once the adjustments were done, my fundal height changed dramatically. It has gone up and down and been a bit variable, but it is nowhere near as large as it was before. The fact that chiropractic adjustments affected the height so dramatically makes me believe that they are not reliable tools to use.

At this point I am 36 weeks and measured 34.5 cm today. Unless you end up WAAYY oversized like I was at some point, I would just ignore the whole issue and not allow other people to get you worked up.
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I don't think it is that accurate. It is just what the "average" is, which does not seem to be what any of us are. My fundal height was always ahead a few weeks with ds & according to an u/s I was due 2 weeks before my due date, but gave birth 2 weeks after my due date to a 10+lb baby. With this pg I went in to my mw at 14 weeks and it was a little above my belly button so my mw wanted me to get an u/s & I found out I was having twins! I have been measuring ahead 11 weeks pretty much the whole time. I wouldn't worry about it unless you have a feeling something is wrong. I think listening to yourself is the best thing to do while pregnant. All of the info out there can get you so worried and confused for no reason.
Even aside from growth spurts, you would think that there could be differences just from whether you recently ate a large meal, have been constipated for a few days, and how much amniotic fluid you have at any given time. As well as the fact that your uterus shifts further 'north' early on too.

I've also wondered how accurate something like this is when you have women of varying pre-pregnant weights and statures. Someone with a relatively low bodyfat percentage is going to measure a lot different from someone who's fairly overweight I would imagine. Ditto people who are long or short waisted.

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