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Growth Scans

Wednesday, 6 June 2018  | 

Growth Scans

My first pregnancy was pretty much plain sailing. Apart from sickness I had no real issues and my little boy was born a couple of days after his due date weighing 7lbs 11oz. When I fell pregnant with his sister we didn’t really think about there being any problems with growth. We had the usual nerves around our 12 and 20 week scans but both went by with no issues.

One thing that was different was that my heart condition flared with my 2nd pregnancy and while I had been able to be medication free with my first pregnancy a beta blocker was recommended this time. Before I started taking them the Consultant decided he wanted to do a scan to provide some accurate details of her size. It was supposed to be a tick box exercise, so I went alone with the toddler in tow, but it ended up being far from straightforward.

Essentially the growth scan is the same as the routine scans but the pay closer detail to measurements, blood flow and fluid levels. Each one took around 20-30 minutes, but baby wasn’t very cooperative, so they may have taken less time if she had been in the correct position. At the scan the sonographer took the measurements and asked me to wait in the waiting room for the Consultant to review the report. She then called me back in and said she just wanted to double check a couple of measurements. I didn’t really think too much of it until I was called in for a 3rd time and then I knew there was a concern.

The Consultant explained that the baby had dropped to below the 10th centile on the growth chart and they were concerned about growth restriction. I would now need to be scanned in two weeks before a plan could be put in place. I asked what would happen if the baby hadn’t grown and was told all they could do was deliver the baby at 28 weeks. It was also mentioned that there was an increased risk of still birth.

I think we both held our breath for 2 weeks and at 28 weeks I was rescanned. Good news was baby had grown but the bad news was she had dropped a little more on the centile charts. There was a discussion with a new Consultant who said that some Consultants would recommend delivering baby now but he’s of the opinion if the baby is growing we should leave them until the growth stops.


We went back every two weeks and I had midwife appointments in between. Some weeks I’d have 3 check-ups on baby and some weeks she had good growth and others not much. Some weeks there were concerns over fluid levels and head size, but she continued to grow.

I’d say it was an emotional rollercoaster but there weren’t many ups. We spent the whole pregnancy living for the next scan. I found it difficult to get excited and bond with bump. We didn’t even discuss or choose names until near the end.

At 38 weeks we all decided that induction would be best, not just because of her growth but my heart condition. I’ll do a separate blog post on induction and what to pack in hospital bags but overall it was a positive experience.

I went in at 38 weeks exactly and Etta was born at 38+2 weighing a healthy 6lb 3oz. After a quick cuddle she was taken to a heat lamp as she had trouble maintaining her body temperature. That took a few hours to right itself and she had to have 24 hours of blood sugar testing but after that she was discharged with a clean bill of health.

No one really knows why she was much smaller than her brother, but she still is. She’s currently on the same centile she was born on, so it looks like she was destined to be little.

Overall, I found the pregnancy traumatic but she’s here safe and sound. My advice would be to ask as many questions as you can think of and make sure you write them down of between scans because we often would forget then would have to stew for another 2 weeks until we next saw a Consultant. I also know some people have had inaccurate growth scans and we kept being told that during pregnancy but in the end for us her final scan was really close to her actual weight.

We had some amazing care and the staff were great with our toddler who came to all my post 20 week scans as I was lacking in childcare options so if you are struggling definitely speak to the hospital and see what they suggest. Also try not to worry if you’re sent for a growth scan as most of the time it’s just the babies positioning causing issues with measurements. My final piece of advice would be not to read too much into google searches. We read some real horror stories during pregnancy and it really didn’t help me keep a rational head!


 

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