Why Has Your Baby Stopped Growing at 6 Weeks?

If your baby stops growing at 6 weeks or is growing slower than normal, you may find yourself very concerned. The thoughts that cross the minds of new mommies can be incredibly frightening. You may think it is something you are doing that impedes the growth of your baby, and afraid of having a miscarriage.

It is normal to have concerns during pregnancy, and no new mother is completely exempt from those until she is holding her new baby in her arms. What is important is to understand the complications that can arise and know what to do about them when they occur.

Why Has Your Baby Stopped Growing at 6 Weeks?

While it often signals the start of a possible miscarriage, this isn’t always the case. Your doctor will monitor you carefully over a few days to weeks to see if there are any changes.

The medical name for this condition is “Fetal Growth Restriction” or FGR and can actually occur at any stage of the pregnancy. This is diagnosed when your baby measures smaller in size than how big it should be for however many weeks pregnant you are. Your doctor may also mention that your baby is “smaller than gestational age in weeks.” It is not only the size, but your doctor may also be concerned that the cells, organs, and body tissues are developing abnormally.

The reasons for a baby that has stopped growing at 6 weeks or is small for gestational age include:

  • Low oxygen levels - If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health conditions, there may not be enough oxygen and nutrition getting to the baby through the placenta.
  • Congenital defects - The cells and tissues in the baby are working hard for growth and development. If there is a congenital defect, the body has to focus on trying to repair, grow new cells, and develop. There are factors that can make this worse like family history of genetic defects, poor maternal diet, tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in pregnancy.
  • Maternal infection - Infections like syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, and cytomegalovirus can slow or even stop fetal growth.
  • Low weight in mom - If your weight is low, chances are you may have a small baby or a slow growing one. If this is due to poor maternal diet, there is not enough nutrition for both you and your baby.
  • Umbilical cord abnormalities - If the umbilical cord has abnormalities it can reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
  • Autoimmune disease - If you have an autoimmune disease it can slow the baby’s growth.
  • Teen pregnancy - If a pregnancy occurs in the still developing body of a teen mother, there is a risk for fetal growth retardation or small birth weight.
  • Threatened miscarriage - If your baby stopped growing at 6 weeks and does not have a heartbeat, you may have a threatened miscarriage. This is possible in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after 12 weeks the risk of miscarriage goes lower.

Is There Any Way to Prevent It from Happening?

To help prevent complications with your baby’s growth during pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to help prepare your body to grow a healthy baby. There are also things you can do during pregnancy to ensure you and your baby are healthy during your pregnancy. These include:

  • Get a pre-pregnancy check-up. It is important to make sure your body is ready for a pregnancy and check for any genetic or health conditions that may affect the growth of your baby.
  • Get any health conditions under control. Thyroid disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders can all affect the growth of a fetus and increase the chances of pregnancy loss. It is important to keep these conditions under control before and during your pregnancy so your body can take care of itself and the baby. Ask your doctor about coming up with a new treatment plan for your condition that includes the pregnancy.
  • Do not use substances. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and any street drug use before and during your pregnancy. It is important to quit using any substances before you plan to get pregnant since many women do not know they are pregnant until weeks after conception. The first few weeks after conception are when most birth defects can occur.
  • Eat a healthy diet. If possible, start eating healthy prior to pregnancy and continue on through your pregnancy. Otherwise, start eating healthier as soon as you find out your pregnancy. Eat a variety of fresh wholesome foods like whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and dairy. Avoid processed and fast foods. Switch from soda, caffeinated and sugary drinks to water and decaffeinated beverages.
  • Prepare yourself. Understand that pregnancy is a very precious event and sometimes fragile in the first 12 weeks. Many women experience pregnancy loss even before they miss a period, so they never even knew. When you discover that you are pregnant, there is no need to fear pregnancy loss or sit and worry. Just understand that sometimes nature will end a pregnancy in the early weeks for one reason or another. If pregnancy loss is continual, you and your doctor can work on a treatment plan.

How to Cope Emotionally Afterwards

If your baby stopped growing at 6 weeks and there is no heartbeat, you will naturally be coping with a whole range of feelings. Finding out you were pregnant was joyful and losing a baby can be filled with feelings like guilt, sorrow, loss, mourning, and depression. Here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Talk to someone about your feelings.
  • Allow yourself time for grieving and healing.
  • Be understanding with your partner. Talk to each other about your feelings.
  • Rest and recover. Emotions can be hard to process if you’re tired.
  • Find other survivors of pregnancy loss and share your story.

Will It Affect Future Pregnancy?

Pregnancy loss may or may not affect a future pregnancy depending on the reason a previous pregnancy ended. Women with a history of pregnancy loss should receive a full work-up to find the cause. Most of the time, these can be treated and most women go on to have a successful pregnancy. If the reason for pregnancy loss was just nature’s way of ending a pregnancy where something didn’t develop right with the baby, the next pregnancy most likely will not be affected.

 
 
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