Baby bumps come in all different shapes and sizes. So while it can be difficult, try not to compare your baby bump to anyone else’s. No two women or two pregnancies are the same. Your baby’s health is the main priority and your midwife will measure your baby’s growth as part of your antenatal care to check that everything is OK.
You can tall to your midwife at any time if you are concerned about how your baby is growing.
How is a baby's growth measured in pregnancy?
Your midwife will ask you to lie down and will measure from the top of your bump to the top of your pubic bone using a tape measure. These measurements should be taken at each antenatal visit from around 24 weeks.
The measurement should be within 2cm of the number of weeks you are pregnant. For example, when you're 30 weeks pregnant, your measurement should be somewhere between 28cm and 32cm. This will depend on:
- your height and weight in early pregnancy
- how many children you’ve had
- your ethnicity.
How can the midwife or doctor tell if the baby is not growing?
Your baby’s growth is written in your antenatal notes either as a measurement (written down as fundal height’ (FH) or symphysis-fundal height (SFH)) 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.
Many hospitals are now using personalised growth charts and marking your measurements on these. This makes checks on the baby’s growth more accurate.
You can always ask your midwife if you’d like to know how your baby’s growth is being monitored.
When should I talk to a doctor about my bump not getting bigger in pregnancy?
Call your midwife if you are concerned that your bump isn’t getting bigger and ask for an extra antenatal appointment to be measured.
Call your midwife or maternity unit at the hospital immediately if you feel your bump isn’t getting any bigger AND your baby’s movements have slowed down. Your baby moving normally is a sign that they are well. You should be offered a scan and extra monitoring.
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 show the baby’s growth more clearly. If the scan shows the baby is growing normally, this is more accurate than the measurements.
If the scan shows that your baby isn’t getting bigger you will be referred to a consultant. This means you will have all your antenatal appointments at the hospital and you will see a midwife and a consultant. If they are concerned about your baby’s growth you may have more growth scans.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), also known as fetal growth restriction (FGR)
Intrauterine growth restriction is a condition where the baby’s growth slows or stops during pregnancy. It is often caused by problems with the placenta that restrict oxygen and blood going to your baby. There is no 'treatment' for IUGR. Instead you will have a management plan. If IUGR is suspected, you will have regular scans to look at the baby’s growth. Find out more about intrauterine growth restriction
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 because they are a sign that your baby is well. If your baby is not getting enough oxygen they may move less to conserve their energy. If you notice a change, report it to your midwife or doctor immediately. Read more about movements here.
Perinantal Institute for Maternal and child health. Fetal Growth https://perinatal.org.uk/FetalGrowth/fetalgrowth.aspx
Sue Macdonald and Gail Johnson (2017) Mayes’ Midwifery, Edinburgh: Baillir̈e Tindall ElsevierHide details
Having more vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common, but speak to your midwife or doctor if you are unsure about any increase or change in your vaginal discharge.
Swelling or puffiness of your hands and feet is common in late pregnancy.
Some itching around the stomach is normal as your skin is stretching around your growing baby.
If you feel your midwife isn’t listening to you, you can ask to see another member of the team.
If you feel that something is wrong, or if you are worried about the baby, call your midwife or doctor to talk about it.
If you have a painful or burning sensation when you wee (urinate), you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Vision problems can be caused by different issues in pregnancy. If you have vision problems always tell your midwife or hospital straight away.
Mild headaches can be caused by hormones and are common in pregnancy.
If your temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius, even with no other flu or cold symptoms, call your doctor or hospital maternity unit.
Stomach bugs are common in pregnancy. It is very unlikely that your baby will be harmed from a bug lasting less than 48 hours.
Fetal movements can be anything from a flutter, kick, swish or roll. Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well.
If you have any bleeding during your pregnancy, with or without pain, it’s very important to get it checked out.
ℹLast reviewed on September 28th, 2018. Next review date September 28th, 2018.
By Caroline (not verified) on 1 Apr 2019 - 15:41
Hi, I am 33 weeks pregnant and I saw the midwife this morning. My belly is on the small side, but baby's heartbeat was strong. However, at my last scan (28 weeks) baby's femurs were quite short. I have a scan next week but I am a bit worried that baby either is not developing well or has not enough space. I can feel him moving regularly though. Many thanks for your advice
By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Mar 2019 - 13:41
Hi! I'm 13w n5days am I worried my belly still flat as I'm normal like before no symptoms of preg
By Stella (not verified) on 14 Mar 2019 - 20:25
I am anxious about my first pregnancy and so opted for a private early pregnancy scan. I was 8w+0 but the early scan placed me at 6w+1. I am confused why there's a nearly a 2 week difference as I have pretty regular cycles and was charting ovulation. The CRL measurement was 5.3mm and Fetal Heart Rate was 71 bpm. The heart beat was seen trans abdominal and trans vaginal. I haven't had any spotting or bleeding.
The sonographer thought these measurements were low and asked me to come back in 7-10 days for another scan. I don't know whether I should save my money and wait for my 12 week scan in 4 weeks. How accurate are early dating scans? How worried should be about the low CRL and FHR measurements?
Many thanks in advance!
By Margaret (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 12:36
I had an appointment with the GP for a 38weeks check up. My bump has always measured slightly bigger than the week I'm in. But this time it was measuring 36cms the same as at my 36 weeks antenatal appointment. Is that normal or should I be worried? Thank you.
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Mar 2019 - 15:57
Measurements can slightly change due to the position of the baby, and it is possible that the baby has moved down and become engaged which can alter the measurements a little. However if the measurements are not showing growth then it would be usual practice to refer for a growth scan and follow up. It is also important that you are happy with your baby's movements, and they have not reduced in anyway. If you are concerned then do contact your maternity unit.
By Margaret (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 16:06
By Nokuphiwa (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 02:17
Hi there first pregnancy I'm 36 weeks preg about to give birth anytime but my midwife has just told me my baby is not growing at all and my belly is very small the last time my baby was 31cm on my 34weeks but now on my 36weeks it went down to 26cm and the movement of the baby are fine
By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Mar 2019 - 12:03
It is great to hear that your baby is moving well. However it sounds like, if you have not already your midwife should refer you to the hospital to have a scan straight away to make sure that the baby is growing ok. If this has not been done then do ring the hospital or your midwife.
By Annabelle Atwill (not verified) on 10 Feb 2019 - 20:14
I had my annomally scan this week and I've been asked to go back to a rescan. They said her belly isn't filling up and when I initially went in they thought I was having my dating scan as I'm still flat and toned like there isn't even a baby there. What does this all mean she gave me no answers and now worrying. Not sure how much movement I should feel either 4th pregnancy and felt movement really early on but not been as active more movement on night then anything else now. Sorry for long post
By Juanita (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 00:31
Im 25 weeks pregnant and my bump only looks like im 17 weeks pregnant whats going on?
By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 09:27
Hi - Thank you for your message.
If you are worried about the growth of your baby - please discuss with your midwife/GP. They should be measuring and monitoring babies growth during antenatal checks and can advise you on what they have found.
By SWEETS (not verified) on 30 Jan 2019 - 22:22
I have 3 boys my first was born at 37 weeks natural birth, 2nd had FGR born at 34 weeks weighed 1.4kg and 3rd I had preeclampsia born at 30 weeks and 780gram. Worried is an understatement of how I feel. At 11 weeks there is no change whatsoever to myself I have seen the midwives and wanting for my first scan. Should I be worried about my bump or anything else. I really need some advice. Thank you
By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 09:24
Hi - Thank you for your message.
At 11 weeks it is a little early to be worried about your bump size as it is still very early on in the pregnancy. It is totally understandable why you be so worried given your history and previously very small babies you have had. Due to your history of pre-eclmapsia and FGR you will be monitored much more closely in this pregnancy with growth scans etc.
By am yetty (not verified) on 24 Jan 2019 - 13:41
I don't knw wart wrong am 14 weeks my belly is not showing n am seeing light blood stain on my pant too
By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2019 - 14:28
Hi - Thank you for your message.
If you have any bleeding during your pregnancy, with or without pain, it’s very important to get it checked out.
Whilst it is common to have light bleeding or ‘spotting’ without pain before 12 weeks., this isn’t often serious, but you should contact your doctor, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit immediately to be checked, just in case.
Bleeding in pregnancy after 12 weeks is not common. Contact A&E or your hospital maternity unit immediately so you can be checked.
By Ronda Brockenberry (not verified) on 14 Mar 2019 - 09:26
I'm within 14 weeks pregnancy and I'm experiencing light bleeding on my left side with light pain should I go to an emergency room but I do have scheduled appointment with my Midwif in a few day what should I do
By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2019 - 10:30
Hi Ronda. Yes, please go into your local maternity unit today to be seen. Abdominal pain, at any gestation, especially with bleeding, needs urgent review. Please do not wait. Go now!
Take care, Tommy's Midwife
By maryam (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 16:15
hi, am 18weeks pregnant which i know by calculating my last period but i have not gone for any test or scanning hope it will not affect my little one but i always feel it kick.
By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 15:51
We recommend having a 12 week and a 20 weeks ultrasound scan as a screening test to rule out any fetal abnormalities and to check fetal wellbeing. You should also have has at least 2 midwife appts- your first booking apt with the midwife between 8-12 weeks gestation, and another around 16 weeks.
Please make contact with your GP/midwife as soon as possible to get your maternity care started. Take care of yourself. Tommy's Midwife
By adekoye abiodun (not verified) on 10 Jan 2019 - 12:21
what cause it if a baby does not drink water in the womb and can't toitet.what should I do
By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 14:51
Thank you for your comment. If you are worried about baby's growth and that it is not getting the right nutrients, you should contact your midwife/Dr for advice and to be assessed urgently.
By Damilola Akinleye (not verified) on 7 Jan 2019 - 17:24
Hi, i am 22weeks pregnant and i went for scan and the baby weight is 0.359 am scared is the baby not to scared.
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Jan 2019 - 15:03
Hi Damilola - Thank you for your message.
It is a little unclear from your message what you mean by 0.359am.
The EFW is a measurement for your midwife and doctors to ensure that the growth is in line with the other measurements taken during the scan - such the length of the baby etc.
If there was any concern about your baby's growth you will be offered further scans and further monitoring of baby's growth.
If you are still worried, please discuss with your midwife/Dr at your next appointment.
By Paulina (not verified) on 30 Dec 2018 - 20:41
Hi I'm 32 weeks pregnant, and my baby size is 30cm, since last measurement one month ago my baby was 29cm that means he only grow 1cm, my midwife book me for a scan. I went for a scan and doctor said everything is fine, there is enough water in womb, placenta is in the right place and baby is in good position, but she didn't said why my baby is no growing enough. And she booked me for another scan which will be after a month. Should I get another scan, is she saying truth to me or I'm just over thinking and baby is okay
By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Jan 2019 - 14:26
We measure the size in cm from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. This gives an indication only of the growth of the baby. Your midwife acted appropriately in referring you, but as all was found to be within normal limits we would suggest that the apparent slow growth could be due either to the position of the baby or to discrepancies in the measurement technique. It is reassuring that you have been told everything is fine. Take care
By Nonye (not verified) on 24 Dec 2018 - 09:59
Hi am nonye, I went for a scan and they said everything was alright but my baby bump doesn't seem to be increasing and am 17 weeks old , what do I do ?
By Tatianna (not verified) on 8 Dec 2018 - 08:14
22 weeks pregnant and I was told my baby is slowly growing, he should be at about 50% and is only at a 1%. Does slowly growing babies have issues outside of the womb?
By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Dec 2018 - 15:12
Hi Tatianna, I am sure that you have been offered more scans to check the growth of your baby. Talk to your doctor or sonographer to ask if there are any concerns. Take care
By elaine (not verified) on 29 Nov 2018 - 06:40
Hi, on my 2nd ultrasound i was told that i was 5w and 6d pregnant but had to come back after 2 weeks because the baby's heart rate was only 96. When i came back the baby was still the same size and the heart rate dropped to 84. The sonographer wanted me to take a deep breath everytime she counts the heart rate. I'm confused. Looks like she's having a hard time measuring as well. My OB told me to come back after a week to monitor the heart rate but no ultrasound. Do you think i'm going to miscarry soon? I don't feel any pain or something wrong to my body. I'm taking duphaston and vaginal progesterone from the time they saw an embryo because i had 3 natural miscarriages in the past. Do you think these are preventing me from miscarrying naturally? Thanks.
By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Nov 2018 - 12:03
I am so sorry to hear that you are going through such an uncertain and difficult time in this pregnancy. It is not possible to give you a definite answer as to what is happening, but it does sound like your baby needs to be monitored closely, and a likely chance of a miscarriage occurring. It is difficult to say how long a miscarriage would take to happen, but they will keep monitoring you. The medication you are on, is prescribed to help prevent miscarriage so it is possible this could be prolonging a possible miscarriage. IF we can support you then please do be touch, you can email us, [email protected]
Take care, Tommy's midwife
By Lizeka (not verified) on 24 Nov 2018 - 06:26
Hai Dr,im 8 weeks pregnant went for a scan at 7 week my Dr told me that my baby's development is far behind and the heart beat is slow,i might have miscarage. Now its been a wèek, no sign of miscarage but my tummy is growing,im confused.
By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Nov 2018 - 11:41
Have you arranged for a repeat scan? Mostly, in this situation you would have another scan after 2 weeks. I am sorry that I can't help more without seeing the scan reports. We send our best wishes to you from Tommy's midwives
By Carole (not verified) on 22 Nov 2018 - 11:58
I had a growth scan last week at 32 weeks and everything was going well. I saw my OB today at 33 weeks and he measured on his little scanner and it looked a little behind. (2 weeks behind) He said could be the angle but he booked me for a scan anyway next week at 34 weeks to check growth. Could the baby have stopped growing or lost weight from my last scan ? I’m really worried
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Nov 2018 - 14:21
Hi Carole, Thank you for your comment.
Every midwife or Dr would refer a woman for a growth scan if they suspected a change in the growth of a baby. It could be the angle of the baby but as a precaution the Dr did the right thing and booked you in for a growth scan. They need to give a few days before scanning you again so that they can see the difference in the growth if the baby is measuring small. There can be times where the placenta starts to stop working as well as it did and this can cause the growth of a baby to slow down. The good thing is that if this is the case, then it has been picked up and you will be monitored closely. If the Dr suspects that you baby is not growing then they may discuss inducing you before your due date. If you have any further questions or concerns then we would advised that you call your midwife or local antenatal day unit for further reassurance. Keep an eye on your baby's movements and again, if you have any concerns then please call the maternity unit to be checked over. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Nyikos (not verified) on 12 Nov 2018 - 12:09
Hello I went to scan when I was 16 weeks they said the heart beat is fine but they can't see lower limbs,i must come back on my 22 weeks I'm worried
By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Nov 2018 - 10:38
Hi - Thank you for your message. It is hard to comment with very little detail, but if you have been asked to come back at 22 weeks it may be that they were finding it hard on this occasion to carry out measurements.
Please email us on [email protected] if you would like to discuss this in more detail or you can call us on 08000147800
By Inka (not verified) on 9 Nov 2018 - 04:30
I am 33 weeks pregnant and my little one hiccups in the womb almost everyday. Is that normal, or do I need to be concerned?
By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Nov 2018 - 10:42
Hi - Thank you for your message. It is very normal for babies to get hiccups in the womb, you probably feel little rhythmic flutters when your baby gets them.
By Inka (not verified) on 9 Nov 2018 - 04:28
I have asked about DhA before but I am a bit worried as I went off fish during my pregnancy around the 20 weeks mark as that was the only thing I couldn’t stand to look at or smell as it would just make me sick.
Now I am worried, will my baby suffer because of this? I even stopped taking my omega 3 and DhA combined vitamins around that time and just take them as and when... will this affect little one?
If I were to start taking them now at 33 weeks will it make a difference?
By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Nov 2018 - 10:55
Hi - Thank you for your message. People usually take fish oil supplements because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help protect against heart disease.
It's better to eat fish than take fish oil supplements. Fish is an excellent source of nutrients that are good for your health and your unborn baby's development.
By Porangi (not verified) on 22 Oct 2018 - 16:26
Wife just had 30 week scan and baby is basically the size of 26 weeks old but she's still kicking heaps and at the scan the heart beat was strong and the blood flow to plancenta was good but my wifes 38 years old and its her first baby just after any advice available thanks
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Oct 2018 - 16:55
Hi Poranghi, Glad to hear you are getting good care. The most important thing is to ensure your wife is happy with the baby movements. if she is concerned that the baby is not moving enough, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
By Jeena (not verified) on 11 Oct 2018 - 16:07
Hi..I had my 20 weeks scan two days ago and scan showed my baby has head circumferance 168.5 and its 9.8 percentile below normal,they said.I am booked in for a growth scan in two weeks. I am really anxious.Anything can i do to make a change ? I mean diet?
By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Oct 2018 - 13:02
I am sorry to hear that you are having an anxious time in your pregnancy but reassuring that you are being followed up and having another growth scan. With regards to your question about your diet, I am afraid there is not anything in particular that I can recommend you eat to help with your baby's growth, however having a general healthy balanced diet is important as well as keeping hydrated. It is equally as important to look after your mental well being as stress can also affect the baby, if you would like to talk further then please do email us [email protected]
By Agness (not verified) on 11 Oct 2018 - 09:48
I already had two miscarriages and now third time pregnant, I calculated the date from first day of my last period and it seems I'm about 5w 2d pregnant. I am really worried as my midwife won't see me till I'm 8 weeks which is on 1.11.2018 and they don't want to do early scan. I'm so scared I will loose this baby as well :( I don't bleed but can't really see any symptoms. I feel funny in my stomach but not to be sick, pee a lot, I'm constantly hungry and tired but then can't sleep most nights. My breasts feel bit Fuller but not sensitive. With first miscarriage I bled and lost it at 6 weeks (scan showed it stopped to grow at 4w), second miscarriage happened when we went for 12w scan and been told it stopped to grow at 10w so had take tablets. Is there anything I can or doctor should do to reassure me? I'm worrying to death and I really don't know what to look for and what to do.
By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Oct 2018 - 14:10
Hi Agness, Thank you for your comment.
We are sorry to hear what you are going through, this must be a very anxious time. I see no reason why your GP cannot refer you for an early reassurance scan under the circumstances after you have had 2 early miscarriages. I would speak to your GP and see if this can be arranged for you. Tell them how worried you are and that is it effecting your sleep. You can always get in touch with your early pregnancy unit or local A and E department if you have any abdominal pain or bleeding. Hope this has helps, Take Care Tommy's Midwives x
By Joy (not verified) on 3 Oct 2018 - 16:15
I am 4 months pregnant and noticed a slight bleeding this morning. Went to the hospital and scan showed 7 weeks without breathing activity. What do I do?
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Oct 2018 - 14:12
Hi Joy, Has the sonographer not given you information about what to do? Have they arranged a follow-up appointment? Did you have a 12 weeks scan? If you need to call us our number is 0800 0147 800. Take care
By Colra (not verified) on 3 Oct 2018 - 04:27
Plz tell me as i am so worried that i am 5 weeks n 6 days pregnent but as per transviginal ultarasound baby heart beat is not findable .kindly plx clear as i have no bleeding no cramps nothing n i m okay properly what to do .
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Oct 2018 - 14:07
Hi Colra, Without knowing all the information it's not possible to reassure you. I wonder why you had a scan at this gestation. Have there been problems in the past? It is quite common for the heartbeat to not be visible until 7 weeks. Have you got a follow-up appointment?