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Why is my unborn baby smaller than expected?
Your physician is monitoring the pregnancy to ensure the baby is getting enough nutrition throughout the pregnancy. Women with high blood pressure, low pre-pregnancy weight, other medical conditions or a prior history of delivering small babies are at greater risk of having a small baby.

To monitor the baby's growth, we use a tape measure to determine the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the baby. This number should correlate with the number of weeks you're pregnant. In some cases, the baby appears to be small or not growing as expected. In either case, an ultrasound is an excellent test to evaluate the baby.

During an ultrasound, the doctor looks at a number of things. Measurements of the baby's size and weight can be made. We look at the amount of fluid surrounding the baby and the appearance of the placenta to give us additional clues as to how he or she is doing.

By studying the patient's medical and obstetrical history along with the ultrasound findings, we can get a good idea of the baby's health. Armed with this data, your doctor can made good decisions, with you, to ensure your baby will be a healthy newborn.

I hope you share your concerns with your obstetrician. He or she needs to hear them to give your baby the best opportunity to thrive now and after delivery. Good luck.

Craig L. Bissinger M.D.