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Old 11-29-2009, 09:06 PM   #1
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How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

Ok, so here's my story. With DS, I always measured ahead. At the 18 week u/s, the baby was measuring a week ahead - the doctor doing the scan wanted to move my EDD, though I told him that was impossible. My fundal height was always ahead...by 34 weeks I was measuring 38. I had a scan at 36 weeks, and every measurement of baby was between 38 and 40 weeks...he was born at 38 weeks being 9 pounds and 21.5" long.

Due to some issues/difficulties with previous deliveries, my OB is concerned that we could have a problem with a baby much larger than DS was. (as in baby not coming out or having problems with the shoulders dislocating, etc.)

This time around I'm having another boy. He too was measuring a week ahead at the 18 week u/s (though I know my EDD is correct, I was charting at the time he was conceived trying to figure out why my cycle was so erratic) However, as of my last appointment (30 weeks) my fundal height is only measuring about a week ahead. My OB thinks that this baby will be smaller than DS was because of this.

My concern would be that because I'm carrying differently and my placenta is in a different place (anterior this time vs. posterior last time) would be that I'm "hiding" another large baby. I don't want to go into labor with an 11 pounder and then be looking at a c/s when we get there because he can't come out the normal way...

My OB isn't as pushed to feel like doing an u/s this time to check size since I'm not measuring ahead this time. While I know u/s can be off, they've always been spot on for me with the 2 pregnancies we've done them, so I'm wondering if I should push for one just for peace of mind.

So if you had a larger baby (9 pounds or bigger) did you measure large or pretty much on schedule? Could I be baking another 9 pounder and just not be as big myself this time around?

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Old 11-29-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

DD was 9 1/2 lbs when she was born @ 41w.

Going by the old 1cm = 1 week rule, my belly was measuring:
on track @ 20w
a week ahead @ 23w
on track again @ 28w
almost 2 weeks ahead @ 30w
2 weeks ahead @ 32w
1 week ahead @ 35w
2 weeks ahead @ 36w
2 weeks ahead @ 37w
almost 3 weeks ahead @ 37.5w
and 3 weeks ahead again @ 38.5w

No idea where I was at after that...

I'd say you'd probably know it if you were baking another 9 pounder, but I could be wrong.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:35 PM   #3
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

I would request the ultrasound if you're worried. FWIW, fundal height was never a good indication for me b/c my babies didn't engage and I had excessive amniotic fluid. I measured closer to normal size with ds #3 but he was also sideways and his placenta was at the front of my uterus (I forget the technical term).
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

My youngest was 9lbs 5oz and I never measured ahead with her. So it is very possible that you are carrying a big baby and not measuring big.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:43 PM   #5
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

I measured behind with both boys and I had big babies for my very small size. DH is small too. LOL>
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

I measured 2 weeks ahead for most of my first pregnancy and dd was 7lbs7oz at term.

This time I'm measuring 4 weeks ahead (have been for the last 3 appointments), but I am sure about my dates, and we had an early ultrasound that confirmed. So the doc is freaking me out a little..
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:45 PM   #7
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

Fundal height is a better indicator when using measurements together to gauge consistancy (I can't think how I want to word this, I'm tired!), rather than size.

So... for example, if you consistancy measure 2-3 ahead, then suddenly one appointment are 2-3 weeks BEHIND, your provider might have some red flags raised (as well as if the scenario was reversed... consistantly behind, then a huge jump). The 'red flag' could be MANY things though, not just a 'worry' about the size of the baby.

Keep in mind that your pelvis is a very accomdating assortment of moveable pieces... it isn't so much about the size of the baby as the ability of the mother to move and get her baby, regardless of size, out easily. Many women birth 'large' babies (8.12 lbs + ... and honestly I don't really consider that 'large').

I wouldn't be concerned about your fundal height in relation to the size of your baby - it usually has little to nothing to do with eachother, as there are MANY other factors involved.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:18 AM   #8
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

DD1 ~ I consistently measured almost 2 weeks ahead. She was born the day before her EDD and was 9lbs 4oz and 21.5 inches long.

DD2 ~ I was measuring about 1-2 weeks ahead. She was born the day after her EDD and was 9lbs 12oz and 22.5 inches long.

DD3 ~ I measured almost spot on every single week. She arrived 5 days late and was 10lbs 1oz and 20 inches long.

I would not consider fundal height an accurate form of determining size in any way. All of the following can change your fundal height at any given time: baby's position, amount of fluid, baby's length, and there are more but these are the most likely.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:18 AM   #9
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

So it sounds like fundal height isn't necessarily a good indicator of baby size. Which was what I was thinking...it didn't make sense to me that my OB would think this baby would be smaller...I personally would anticipate him to be about the same size DS was. So far, all of my kids have gotten progressively fatter and longer: DD1 was 7.5 pounds, 19 inches, DD2 was 8 pounds, 20 inches, and DS was 9 pounds, 21.5 inches - and each one got progressively earlier - DD1 was born 5 days early, DD2 was born 9 days early, and DS was born 15 days early.

Neither DH nor I are "small" people - he's 6'3" and I'm 6'. All of the boys on both sides of the family going back at least 3 generations have been in the 9 pound range. So unless this little man decides to make an appearance at say 36 weeks, I personally would be surprised if he wasn't close to 9 pounds.

Besides the actual weight, all of my kids have had 90th percentile or greater head circs at birth. DD1's was so out of proportion (because her other measurements were pretty much 50th percentile) that they were worried that she had water on the brain. DD2's was also 90th percentile. DS's was off the top of the charts, and even as of his 18 month appointment he was in like the 105th percentile.

My other concern is this baby is also laying "sunny side up" - so his spine is to my spine right now. DS1 was the opposite - he always had his butt in my belly button. This guy all I get is feet and knees. My OB thinks it is likely he'll turn before I go into labor...however DD1 also had the anterior placenta and she ended up being born facing my left hip. It was a horrible labor with her - I had attempted to go natural and then labor stalled out at 9 cm. I had no break from contractions - they were right on top of one another - as soon as one ended another one began. I ended up getting an epidural. My other two were inductions - one for cord concerns and DS was for size. Again an epidural for both - the first one I was peeved about having an induction, so opted to get the epidural as soon as they knew the pitocin was working, and the second I attempted to go without but the pitocin was too much for me to handle. Which, as I'm sure you know, having an epidural limits your birthing options/positions - so combine that with big babies, bigger heads, and my narrower pelvis and we end up with the risk of baby getting stuck somewhere.

When it comes down to it (and I hope I don't get flamed for this, see my siggy for my disclaimer!) I'd much rather be induced at 38 weeks with a 9 pounder that I know I can birth than go into labor on my own at 40 with a 10 pounder that I end up having to have a c/s for. I don't want major surgery! Not to mention the recovery period worries me - I know some women bounce right back but then I've heard others where it took a full 4-6 weeks to recover and they couldn't even climb stairs it was too painful. Well, I live in a 3rd floor walkup and will have 3 other kids plus the newborn and no help (DH doesn't get paid vacation so will go back to work right away and we don't have family here) so I can't "take it easy" and hang out on the couch.

I see my OB again in another 2 weeks (I'll be 33 weeks then) so I think I'll try to get him to schedule me for another u/s if only to put my mind at ease.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:02 AM   #10
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Re: How accurate is fundal height for estimating baby's size?

1st DS I always measured 1-2 weeks ahead, then at 36weeks my midwife asked for an ultrasound and he was measuring at 40 weeks! 4 weeks ahead!!! AHHH!!! He wasn't born until 42 weeks and he was 10lbs 3oz, but there was a lot of meconium in me and in his mouth/tummy like he's been swallowing it and I kind of wonder if he was over cooked and they got my dates wrong!!!

This DS now is measuring right no schedule, but my midwife said that he could be hiding back there! She's guessing him to be the same size as ODS or more! UGH!!!
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