You look so small for 34 weeks!

I’ve been hearing that a lot in my pregnancy.  Which is a compliment, and nice to hear.  Certainly better than, “Wow, you sure you’re not having twins?”  I know that I’ve been gaining a healthy amount of weight in the pregnancy, and that things are going fine.  So I’m comfortable and happy with how I look.  The only person who thinks I look big is my mom- a couple weeks ago, she commented on how big my abdomen was getting.  She wondered if she got that big with me and my brother.  I have no doubt that she was bigger at term than I was two weeks ago.  It’s just easy to forget when it’s been over 30 years.  And I think she’s just so used to seeing my normal non-pregnant body, that it seems like such a huge change now.

The other day, I was saw a woman walking way ahead of me down the hall in the hospital, and noticed the uncomfortable waddle.  As I scurried past her, sure enough there was a pregnant belly attached to her front.  I thought to myself how relieved I was that I can still walk just fine, with no significant discomfort.  I think it has helped that I haven’t gained excess weight, though of course many women have pregnancy-related pain despite normal weight gain.

I do find, though, that even the seemingly innocuous comments from people about pregnant women’s size can cause worry in my patients.  Every so often, a patient will tell me that people have been commenting on how small she looks, and that she’s worried her baby is too small.  I reassure her that her fundal height (the measurement from her pubic bone to the top of her uterus) is normal, and therefore there’s nothing to worry about.  Ultimately, everyone carries differently.

And on the other hand, if people make comments in the other direction, that of course will make women self-conscious as well.  Hopefully most people aren’t insensitive enough to purposely make a comment that a pregnant woman looks big, but perhaps it can happen inadvertently.  Maybe they volunteer how far along they think the woman is, and it ends up being way off.

For me, I don’t mind that people tell me I look small for my gestational age.  I won’t lie- it’s nice to hear.  It’s the equivalent of any woman being told she looks thin.  But the fact is, comments in either direction can make women worry.  So hopefully people are mindful of that.  And also, it helps for the pregnant woman herself to try not to worry about comments so much.  Ultimately, her doctor will let her know if there’s anything to worry about with the baby possibly growing too small, or if the patient is gaining excess weight.

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5 thoughts on “You look so small for 34 weeks!

  1. PracticeBalance August 5, 2015 / 5:54 pm

    I am in the same boat of being told I look so small. I’m really tall (6’1″) and just carry it differently I think. It is nice to hear, but I have gone through my share of worries that the baby isn’t big enough as you mentioned. The 20 wk ultrasound helped :). I kind of envy the big-bump ladies; I think their bellies are beautiful. I just look like I have a beer gut! In the end though I’ll be happy to have not been huge (we’ll see, 18 more weeks to go).

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    • Paleo OB August 8, 2015 / 12:08 pm

      Don’t worry, you’ll feel much bigger by the end. You will have an obvious pregnant belly as opposed to the beer belly. It is beneficial not to be too big, since that hopefully means less discomfort!

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  2. Meg August 10, 2015 / 12:51 am

    I know the other side of this coin. My belly is quite small too and people have similarly telling me I look so small. I did my long haul flight a couple of weeks ago and no one at any of the 3 airports where I boarded flights even noticed I was pregnant. I’ve been very happy about all this, particularly because I haven’t had many symptoms like swelling or discomfort and still don’t have any now at 36.5 weeks.

    My earlier ultrasounds (done in the developing country I was living in) were all fine, though at 22 weeks the baby was measuring a week behind, but no biggie. I’ve now arrived home in Australia and have started seeing an OB here who of course wanted her own ultrasound as she hadn’t seen me before. Turns out that the baby is still small…. quite small, 10th percentile, but correctly proportioned (i.e. HC/AC ratio is bang on 1) and all the blood flows including into and out of the placenta are good. BUT the baby is small……. which means two-weekly ultrasounds and OB appointments and lots of talk of early induction.

    Baby is otherwise super active and has moved down and is happily pressing on my bladder and giving me lightning crotch. Not sure yet what’s going to happen, but I really just want to keep him/ her in for as long as possible and have a natural birth. But yeah, I’m not feeling quite that happy at being small as I was before.

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    • Paleo OB August 10, 2015 / 7:41 pm

      Hi Meg, sorry to hear about this new concern. I’m not a high risk OB doctor, and of course you’ll want to follow the recommendations of your doctors, but my impression is that 10th percentile is not super concerning. The real risks tend to occur when baby is less than 5th percentile. Also, how big you are plays a factor. If you are 6 feet tall then I’d be more concerned than if you’re a very small gal. Your doctors will ultimately monitor your baby appropriately, and then make their recommendations accordingly. Usually my patients that I’ve seen induced for a small baby did just fine, babies were on the small side but did great.

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      • Meg August 12, 2015 / 5:08 pm

        Thanks POB. Saw my OB again yesterday and she is happy with the baby’s growth overall, so we’re not talking about induction just yet. Going to track with another scan at 38 weeks and if all looks well, keep going – if I haven’t delivered already by then. Else, induce at that stage.

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