My baby is not growing in pregnancy

A growing bump is the sign of a growing baby. Your midwife should start measuring your baby from 24 weeks to make sure they are growing at the right rate.

How is a baby's growth measured in pregnancy?

The measurements are taken with a non-elastic centimetre tape measure from the top of your bump to the top of your pubic bone. It may be written down as ‘fundal height’ (FH) or symphysis-fundal height (SFH). These measurements should be taken at each antenatal visit from around 24 weeks.

The measurement should be within 3cm of the number of weeks you are pregnant. When you're 30 weeks pregnant, for example, your measurement should be somewhere between 27cm and 33cm. This will vary depending on your height and weight in early pregnancy, how many children you’ve had and your ethnicity.

How can the midwife or doctor tell if the baby is not growing?

Your baby’s growth is recorded in your notes either as a measurement or plotted on a chart through your pregnancy. This chart can show the midwives if there is a steady incline, no growth or decline in the growth.

What happens if baby is not growing in pregnancy?

If you are concerned that your bump isn’t getting any bigger, call your midwife and ask for an extra antenatal appointment to be measured. If your measurements are outside of the normal range, or if you still feel worried that your bump is too small, your midwife should recommend an ultrasound scan called a growth scan.

This will give a more accurate measurement. If the scan is normal, the measurement doesn't matter.

If you feel your bump isn’t getting any bigger and your baby’s movements have slowed down, talk to your midwife or maternity unit at the hospital immediately to get checked. These are the symptoms of a condition called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR/FGR). It means the baby is not growing properly in the womb. Your midwife should refer you to the hospital for a scan and extra monitoring.

If you are still concerned and your midwife does not refer you for a scan, you can ask to see another midwife in the team, contact the day assessment unit (DAU) within the maternity unit.

Another option for those who can afford it is to have a private scan. The cost will depend on where you go.

Read more about intrauterine growth restriction, also known as fetal growth restriction (IUGR/FGR)

Being aware of your baby's movements is important

If your midwife or doctor has told you that your baby may not be growing as they should, it is very important to monitor your baby's pattern of movements and if you notice a change, report it to your midwife or doctor immediately. Read more about movements here.

Sources

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Antenatal care: routine care for the healthy pregnant woman, clinical guideline 62, London NICE, 2008

Gardosi J, Francis A, Controlled trial of fundal height measurement plotted on customised antenatal growth charts. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 1999; 106(4) (1 April 1999): 309–17

Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes’ midwifery, fourteenth edition, Edinburgh Baillir̈e Tindall Elsevier, 2012

London Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Midwifery supervision and regulation: recommendations for change, London The Stationery Office, 2013. Also available at: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/23484/Midwifery-... (accessed 6 May 2014)

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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Comments

  • By Anabela (not verified) on 18 Sep 2018 - 23:39

    I am pregnant and my first scan the doctor said that I am 5weeks but he said as well that my baby has stopped to grow and that I am bleeding from inside as well and seems Sunday I am still bleeding outside as well my question is if the baby has stop to grow does that mean that he won’t grow anymore?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Sep 2018 - 14:44

    Hi Anabela, Thank you for your comment.
    From what you have described and if you are actively bleeding then it does suggest that you may be having a miscarriage. If your baby has stopped growing and you are bleeding then this can be a sign that a miscarriage may happen. If you are still unsure of what is happening then we would recommend that you speak to your Doctor again, as they will be able to look at our notes and your scan records and will give you a more accurate answer then what we can at Tommy's. We hope that you are ok at this time, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Erie (not verified) on 18 Sep 2018 - 15:45

    Hi there im 16 weeks and 4 days but i feel like i dont have that big baby bump and i don’t feel the baby moving.i haven’t been check since my 8 weeks no appoinment still by this time..but im always feeling hungry and always peeing than the usual..

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Sep 2018 - 14:29

    Hi Erie, Thank you for your comment.
    It is common for women to start to feel baby movement between 16 and 24 weeks, this can happen at any time and everyone feels movements at different stages. This goes the same for your bump, if this is your first baby then your abdominal muscles will be firmer then those of a woman who has had pregnancies before, so you tend to show a little later in a first pregnancy. If you are still concerned then please contact your community midwife who will be able to give you further reassurance. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Titilayo (not verified) on 13 Sep 2018 - 00:05

    I'm pregnant the first scan I did was 6weeks +5days, a week later the sca gave the same result. Then after a Month I did scan same result but now I'm bleeding . don't knw what to do

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Sep 2018 - 11:54

    Hi Titilayo,
    It sounds like you have been having a very anxious time over the past few weeks, if you are having bleeding now, then we would recommend that you call the early pregnancy unit so that they can check you over and scan you again. Please call them as soon as you can to be seen. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Laura (not verified) on 11 Sep 2018 - 23:18

    Just went for an ultrasound and I’m supposed to be 28weeks but de just told me baby is measuring 2 weeks behind. Didn’t seem too worried but sending me for another scan. Hubby and I are both smaller people and drs PA didn’t seem worried at my last appt in which they said only the femur was small and to remeasure. Should I be worried??

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 16:36

    Hi Laura
    Please be reassured that your doctor wants to monitor your baby's growth by doing another scan. If there are any concerns then they should discuss this with you and any future plans for your pregnancy care.
    Please contact your maternity unit if baby's movements are less than normal, or you have any other concerns.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 16:36

    Hi Laura
    Please be reassured that your doctor wants to monitor your baby's growth by doing another scan. If there are any concerns then they should discuss this with you and any future plans for your pregnancy care.
    Please contact your maternity unit if baby's movements are less than normal, or you have any other concerns.

  • By Precious Emmanuel (not verified) on 9 Sep 2018 - 00:06

    Hi Doctor, please my best friends mum has been pregnant since 2016 till date, been a mother of 6 grown children, she attempted several abortion pills which stopped the baby from growing, but theres evidence that the baby is alive, please what can she do to save the baby and herself, she doesn't have enough money to go to the hospital... And is she in any danger? She doesn't feel much pains... Please help us

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 11:38

    Hi Precious
    Your friend's mum can access free maternity care at any stage of pregnancy via the NHS if she is in the UK. We can only give general advice if you are not in the UK as we are not familiar with other health systems.
    If she thinks this baby is alive it is very important that mum sees a health professional who can provide maternity care for both hers and the baby's health. If money is an issue there may be a charity she can contact for help.
    She should go to hospital urgently if she has severe pains, bleeding, feels unwell in any way or has other concerns about herself and the baby's health.
    I have attached some links with more information for you-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/antenatal-care
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/intrauterine-growth-restriction-iugr
    Please contact us on Tommy's Pregnancy Line 0800 0147 800 or email midwife @tommys.org for more advice

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Radha (not verified) on 8 Sep 2018 - 06:10

    Present I'm 16 th week, Sometimes I feel like IAm not having any baby in my stomach. Sometimes I was getting pain, why this is happens, my baby growing or not, I'm not have big bump also

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 09:47

    Hi Radha
    16 weeks is still quite early in the pregnancy-your bump may not start to show until you are nearer 20 weeks. If you have any pain or bleeding you must contact your maternity unit for advice. I hope by now you have booked into your local unit and have started your antenatal care-if so you should have been given an appointment for a 20 week scan. I have attached 2 links with more information about the 2nd trimester for you-
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-week-by-week/16-weeks-pregnant-whats-happening
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/pregnancy-calendar/second-trimester-weeks-13-28

  • By Inka (not verified) on 30 Aug 2018 - 17:33

    I have been taking Pregnacare plus but stopped taking the omega-3 tablets since about the start of my second trimester... the baby was fine on Week 20 scan and not getting anymore scans.

    I was just wondering, is that bad for my baby and if I did just start back taking them will it be beneficial?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Aug 2018 - 14:12

    Hi Inka,
    There is no evidence to show that taking DHA and omega 3 tablets in pregnancy is beneficial or has an impact on the baby's development so no need to take them. You may want to include some fish in your diet a a natural source however. It is important to continue to take vitamin D.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Rhashae (not verified) on 21 Aug 2018 - 02:24

    I’m 34 weeks my baby is 4lbs 15oz, I was informed that my baby stomach/waist is growing small but everything else is growing fine. I was also told that I would be getting ultrasound scans weekly for now on should I be worried?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Aug 2018 - 11:11

    Hi Rhashae
    It is great that your midwife/doctor has ordered weekly scans for you if your baby is measuring on the smaller side. This means your care is of a good standard and means they can more accurately track baby's growth.
    Good luck with everything and feel free to email/call us if you need any further assistance.
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Una Lia (not verified) on 14 Aug 2018 - 04:26

    Hi, Doctor says everything is normal. I'm 28 weeks now but my tummy is too small as everyone says.. This is my second child... and also baby forever moving so i'm always experiencing shortness of breath ...is this normal?? i never had it this way with my first.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Aug 2018 - 10:14

    Hi Una Lia,
    As long as your doctor and midwife are happy with the the measurements of your bump/baby then please take reassurance in this. Bumps can come in all different shapes and sizes so the measurements are important, if you are 28 weeks then you should have an antenatal appointment around this time. If you are experiencing on going shortness of breath then do speak with your midwife, this can be very normal in pregnancy however it can be sign of anaemia or something more serious that just needs to be ruled out.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Amanda (not verified) on 31 Jul 2018 - 05:18

    I’m 28 weeks pregnant and my baby Chloe is only 2lbs. The doctors are doing ultrasound weekly. But is it something I can do. Help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jul 2018 - 16:16

    Hi Amanda
    If you are having weekly scans, then you are having a good standard of care at your hospital, which is great. There is nothing that you can do to increase babies size yourself i am afraid to say.
    Are you having doppler (blood flow)scans too?
    Please feel free to call or email us Amanada if you have any further questions. 08000147800/[email protected]
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwives

  • By Tigger (not verified) on 19 Jul 2018 - 00:15

    I’m currently 32 weeks into my pregnancy they keep saying my baby isn’t growing well but at work and elsewhere people say my belly is big to be sad he isn’t growing well and what can I do to see his face every visit his face is against my placenta? Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Jul 2018 - 14:56

    Hi Tigger, Thank you for your comment.
    It may be from others that your bump is growing however, your Drs will go by the measurements on the scan which is more accurate then looking at the size of your bump alone. Measuring baby by scan will be much more accurate and this way they can keep an eye on the growth of your baby, especially as they have some concern that baby is a little on the small side. With regards to seeing his face, this is all up to him really, there is nothing we can advice you to do to change this unless he wants to move by himself, he may just be in a comfortable position but as you should be scanned more regularly because of his growth, hopefully at one of these scans he will have moved. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Saraswathi (not verified) on 14 Jun 2018 - 09:24

    Now 10th months is happening
    But baby stomach area is not growing well
    What can do

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jun 2018 - 16:54

    Hi Saraswathi,
    If there are concerns about your baby's growth then you should be having regular growth scans to monitor this, if not then do speak with your midwife. If you are over due then your team should be discussing the option of induction with you also.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Blumorxan (not verified) on 13 Jun 2018 - 00:38

    23 weeks pregnant, evverything was fine bump was growing could feel baby moving but now today I was told she is in the 8th percentile. Does she have IUGR?? Is there anything I can do to get her to grow back on track?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Jun 2018 - 13:18

    Hi Blumorxan
    This sounds like a question for an obstetric doctor. They can look at your scan and measurements (taking into account your medical and obstetric history) and help to give you more information about why your baby is possibly on the smaller side. Please attend your hospital triage/day assessment unit for review unless you have an appointment for sometime this week with an obstetrician in your antenatal clinic
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Rahma (not verified) on 4 Jun 2018 - 05:41

    My belly's growing but i can't feel movement of my baby in my tummy and am 18 weeks pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jun 2018 - 14:09

    Hi Rahma,

    Thank you for contacting us.
    Some women feel their baby move later than others. However i would suggest speaking to your local maternity unit for reassurance and assessment.

  • By Sabas (not verified) on 26 May 2018 - 08:37

    I'm 10 week pregnant but after scanning i get to know MY BABY STOP GROWING. Scan showed its 5 week baby.. please suggest me what can i do.

    Doctor said Me to go DNC

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 May 2018 - 10:40

    Hi Sabas
    I am very sorry to hear that your baby has stopped growing at 10 weeks. I am afraid that there isn't anything that you can do, and you have not done anything wrong which has caused it. Your doctor may suggest that you either have the D&C surgery or may offer to give you a tablet so that you pass the pregnancy vaginally. The choice is yours to make and the Dr can explain both of these options in detail to you and your partner so that you can make the best choice for you both. If you need to talk, please call us on the pregnancyline.
    Thinking of you
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Noor ul huda (not verified) on 1 Sep 2018 - 08:02

    My baby is not growing after 7 weeks dr said to me go for dnc and i had little bleeding ..but it was just spotting.

  • By colly (not verified) on 21 May 2018 - 16:39

    my baby is playing every day wat im i suppose to do i even go to the doctor but stel no luck

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 May 2018 - 09:33

    Hi Colly, Thank you for your comment.
    It is difficult to understand what you are trying to explain. If you have had a scan sand there is no baby seen then you are not pregnant, but you are feeling something? It would be advisable that you need to go and see your doctor again and explain how you are feeling, it may not be a pregnancy but they will need to investigate into what your are experiencing. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Rosemary (not verified) on 30 Apr 2018 - 06:52

    No movements, belly not growing is there any problem its my firstborn .never experienced how a child kicks inside womb and am becoming impatient.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 May 2018 - 09:44

    Hi Rosemary,
    Thanks for posting. It is normal with your first pregnancy to feel movement any time between 16-24 weeks. With first time Mums it might be later in this time frame compared to women who have had babies before and feel movements closer to 16 weeks in subsequent pregnancies.
    Have you had a scan yet? Are you due to have a second scan in the next few weeks.
    If you lie down do you notice that your belly is a little bigger? Dependent on your build some women don't have any obvious bump until later in pregnancy.
    If you are fit and well and have not had any pain or bleeding it is likely that your baby is growing well and you will soon be feeling some irregular flutters. The link below will help you to know what is normal movement after 24 weeks.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/baby-moving-less/movements-matter-raising-awareness-fetal-movements
    I hope this helps. Please stay in touch
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • By jossy (not verified) on 26 Apr 2018 - 21:49

    pls what can I do.Am 10weeks pregnant and I went for scanning today. The doctor said one of the babies is not growing but the other is okay.pls what is the solutions to this.thanks



  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2018 - 09:28

    Hi - Thank you for your message. I'm so sorry to hear that you have been given difficult news. In order to advise I would need to bit more information, so please get in touch with us via email [email protected] or on our Pregnancyline 08000147800.

  • By Grace Alheri Solomon (not verified) on 8 Mar 2018 - 16:59

    l am 4 months pregnant,no symptom,bump it not growing,babies is kicking well,but am bleeding.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Mar 2018 - 11:27

    Hi Grace, If you are bleeding we would suggest that you are seen as soon as possible by a doctor or health professional. Best wishes

  • By Mina Kollie (not verified) on 6 Mar 2018 - 13:36

    6 months pregnant and my stomach looks like I'm two months pregnant. There's no weight gain and my baby moves a lot. I'm why is my stomach not growing? People hardly believe me when I tell them that I'm 6 months pregnant because my tummy appears normal.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2018 - 09:49

    Hi Mina
    Every baby bump is different. Try not to worry about having a petite bump- your midwife should be measuring your bump each time you go for a check up. If these measurements were not following the expected growth pattern, then you would be sent for additional growth scans.
    Please do speak to your midwife about the measurements when you next are seen or before if you are still concerned.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By hi I am Jenifer (not verified) on 3 Mar 2018 - 05:53

    I am 4 month pregnant d baby 5 month by 12 but my belly is still not growing as my first $ second born but I fell d heart beat but not moving shld I worry myself ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Mar 2018 - 13:14

    Hi Jenifer,
    I am a little unclear from your message how many weeks or months pregnant you are however up until 24 weeks, baby's movements can vary however beyond this time then we would advise that most babies settle into a pattern and to monitor them throughout the pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different when it comes to how big your bump is, your midwife should be measuring your bump at each antenatal appointment from about 24 weeks, and if your midwife has any concerns then they will refer you for a scan. I hope this helps but do speak with your midwife if you have further concerns. Best wishes, Tommy's midwives.

  • By Peace (not verified) on 12 Feb 2018 - 14:13

    I am 24 weeks old pregnant and smallish. my bump is small and am worried

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Feb 2018 - 10:37

    Hi Peace
    Every pregnancy is different and so to are how women carry their pregnancies. If your 20 week scan was normal and your midwife has measured your bump at each appointment and your uterus is growing according to how many weeks gestation you are, then there is no reason to be concerned.
    If you are concerned about fetal growth, then you can go into your maternity triage for review.
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Chidinma (not verified) on 11 Feb 2018 - 06:55

    Please am 16weeks old at my first trimester I had a blotted tummy just for it to start going down at 15weeks am I suppose to worry

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Feb 2018 - 10:35

    Hi Chidinma
    Every pregnancy is different and women carry them differently too.
    If your scans have so far been normal and your midwife has measured your tummy and found your uterus to be growing according to the gestation, then there is no reason for concern.
    Please do go into your maternity triage for review if you are concerned and need more reassurance.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Krystal (not verified) on 8 Feb 2018 - 13:04

    am 15 weeks with my second and my belly not growing and I was showing when my first child was this weeks,dont feel any movement as yet either .appointment in few days but am very worried

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Feb 2018 - 15:46

    Hi Krystal,
    I am sorry to hear that you are feel anxious at the moment. It is completely normal to have not yet felt any movements at this stage in pregnancy so please try not to worry. It is great to hear that you have a midwife appointment in the next few days so you can discuss your concerns with them, however women do present differently in pregnancy and some show earlier than others. If you have had any bleeding or pain then do call your midwife to be reviewed or if you have any other concerns. Best wishes, Tommy's midwives.

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