What does 'small for dates' mean?
Measuring your baby
'Small for date' causes
- Placenta problems If a baby is truly small-for-dates, the most likely reason is a problem with the placenta. The placenta is the lifeline between you and your baby and, if it fails, your baby will lose out on food and oxygen in the womb and will not be able to grow at the usual rate. Problems with the placenta can occur if the mum is ill, for example, with high blood pressure or kidney disease. However, in some cases, the placenta simply seems to wear out and stop working before your baby has finished growing in the womb.
- Smoking, drinking and drugs Smoking is still one of the most common causes of poor fetal growth, and heavy drinking and drug abuse also significantly increase your chances of having a small-for-dates baby.
- Fetal problems Sometimes the reasons for poor growth lie with the baby itself, possibly as a result of genetic abnormalities or an infection.
Other factors that might lead to a small bump
Your antenatal care
- An ultrasound scan can show your baby's size and also how much amniotic fluid (the fluid in which your baby floats) there is.
- A Doppler scan can check the blood flow through your placenta and the umbilical cord.
- Your baby's heart will be checked at each antenatal visit.