pregnancy, bump, fetal size, antenatal, stress

When I first broke the news of my pregnancy to my friends and family, they warned me about many comments from random people that would make me uncomfortable or thunderstruck.

So, as any first-time-mom would do, I did my homework. I talked to friends who were mothers, searched the internet for ‘likely comments and questions’ and prepared myself well for any sudden attacks, until one day when I was asked the scariest, most unpredictable, and the most disconcerting question.

“Why is your bump so small?”

My instant reaction: I didn’t come across that one while surfing the internet.

My second reaction: “Does this mean there’s something wrong with my baby?”

My third reaction… well by then I had gone into a state of shock, too numb to think or feel anything – not even the “little bump” that I have.

I don’t remember what the lady said after that. She just seemed to be babbling in the air, while I started mapping any “unusual” signs or symptoms that might have meant that the baby was actually not growing well enough.

I couldn’t sleep all night, and I still curse that woman for that careless comment. I had all my documents, clothes and my handbag ready for the following morning, ready to leave for the hospital with the first ray of sunshine; and so I did. I rushed to the midwife clinic first thing in the morning and found myself in a relief only after she checked me and the baby, who was perfect in size, shape and health.

“This is one active bub I’ve seen in a long time,” she said with a soothing smile as she moved the Doppler on my “perfect-sized” bump to catch my bouncy baby’s heartbeat, and simultaneously wiping off my tears that trickled down into my ears. I had not felt such stress in the last eight months as I did in the last eight hours, and the relief was making me sleepy on the clinic bed.

Why would women do this to pregnant moms? Don’t they realize how big an impact can their “just-saying” comments leave on us? Why don’t they understand that midwives would inform women if there’s something to be worried about, and that they should spare themselves from fidgeting with our minds?

According to my midwife and the doctor that checked me earlier that day, it is perfectly normal for women not to gain extra pounds during pregnancy, especially if it’s their first.

So ladies, those with small bumps and those with not, please remember that every woman’s body expands in its own proportion. It’s perfectly normal to have a bump that looks relatively small or even bigger when compared to other women, but there’s nothing to panic as long as your feel the baby move.

Chances are, if you are tall and have good muscle tone, you will carry high and your tummy might not be very noticeable, like mine (Phew!).

Measuring fundal height

Like babies, bumps come in all shapes and sizes. Besides scans, fetal and bump growths are monitored by measuring fundal heights at every antenatal appointment.

Fundal height is measured with any domestic measuring tape. The measure is taken from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus at the point where your bump actually begins to protrude.  It is measured in centimetres and should match your baby’s gestational age, within one to three centimetres. For instance, at 32 weeks as myself, your measurement should be between 29cm and 35cm.

However, these measurements tend to change or seem to stay in place for a few weeks in the baby is breech, is turned sideways or has rolled up in a corner.

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By Ayesha Hasan