Carrying a baby in your womb is one of the most fascinating, and yet the most difficult experiences of a woman’s life. There are so many questions that pop up when a baby is conceived. And anxiety is beyond explanation. Many women lose sleep over the worries and suspicions that creep up during pregnancy. “Is my baby doing okay in there?” “Are all the body parts and organs developing the way they should?” “Is the baby getting all the nutrition it requires?” The concern list doesn’t seem to end. And the most horrifying question of them all – “Is the fetus growing at all?”
A majority of miscarriages occur within 12 weeks of pregnancy. Around 10 to 20 percent of women suffer a miscarriage before hitting their 20th week. After 20 weeks, losing a baby is considered as stillbirth. Whatever be the case, the news is heartbreaking.
These are the warning 10 signs that suggest the fetus has stopped growing –
1: – No heartbeat heard
Doctors start looking for baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler when the mother is in her first trimester. Heartbeat can be heard as soon as 9th to 10th week, which is when the baby turns from embryo to fetus. The heartbeat sounds in early pregnancy can be missed due to baby’s position or placenta placements. But unfortunately, it is also a sign that the fetus has ceased to develop.
2: – Stunted fundal height
Fundal height is the height of expecting mother’s uterus from top to the pubic bone. This is measured with a tape, which helps the doctor make sure that the uterus is growing along with the fetus inside. If the measurement is not as expected, doctors may prescribe further tests to make sure the baby is growing. This could be the first indicator of fetus development being stopped.
3: – Sudden drop in HCG levels
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a pregnancy hormone produced only in pregnant women. It’s this hormone that the home pregnancy test detects to show positive pregnancy results. Though HCG levels keep fluctuating during pregnancy, their dropping below normal could be a reason of concern.
4: – Intrauterine growth restriction diagnosis
If the IGUR diagnosis suggests that the fetus in womb measures smaller than expected, its an issue of concern. In a case of twins, one fetus may suffer from IGUR while other can be fine. Intrauterine Growth Restriction happens due to problems in the placenta. If the placenta does not do its job, the fetus can stop growing.
5: – Sudden bleeding
Monthly bleeding is a part of life, but bleeding during pregnancy is a warning sign of miscarriage. Though many women experience spotting or slight bleeding during pregnancy, passing large clots of blood is a sign of fetal demise.
6: – Gushing fluid discharge
Usual vaginal discharge is a part of pregnancy, but if it aggravates a doctor should be consulted immediately. There are chances this could be the very amniotic fluid that keeps the baby safe in mother’s womb. Gushing fluid discharge is a sign that amniotic fluid sac is ruptured and the fetal growth has stopped.
7: – Unbearable cramps during pregnancy
If you get unbearable cramps during pregnancy, it is a sign that the fetus is in trouble. If the cramps are normal, there is no need to worry. But if they go beyond the tolerance level, it means miscarriage has begun, and the contractions are trying to push the fetus away from the uterus.
8: – Abnormalities in ultrasound
The initial ultrasound is done in the first trimester. It not just checks the position, development and size of the baby but also identifies birth defects. If the ultrasound does not detect fetus movement, doctors inform parents about the negative consequences.
9: – High fever
During pregnancy, if the mother picks high fever it could affect the fetus’ growth. On the contrary, if the fetus stops growing in womb, the mother suffers from high fever. In both cases, waiting it out is an absolute no-no. High fever is one of the signs of miscarriage.
10: – No fetal movement in the third trimester
If the baby’s movements are felt in the second trimester and suddenly stop in the third trimester, it must be brought to the doctor’s notice immediately. This could be a sign of late fetal demise, and the mother knows about it before anyone else.
Though none of these signs are foolproof, they certainly should not be ignored. Being extra cautious during pregnancy is a good thing after all.