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Small for gestational age

Patient information A-Z

What is the problem?

During your ultrasound examination we have found that the measurements of the baby’s head, waist (abdominal circumference) and thigh bone (femur length) are measuring smaller than expected.

What does this mean?

We find this combination of measurements in about 1 in every 500 (0.2%) pregnancies at 20 weeks. It can be a normal variation or associated with reduced efficiency of the placenta. It could also be related to other underlying problems such as chromosomal or genetic conditions.

What happens next?

To evaluate the underlying cause further and provide you with the best information available, you will be offered the opportunity to discuss these findings with a fetal medicine Midwife. You will also be offered a scan in the fetal medicine department with a fetal medicine consultant to discuss this further.

We assess fetal growth by measuring:

Diagrams showing fetal growth, showing the 'Head circumference' 'Abdominal circumference' 'Femur length'

This may also include further measurements of the:

  • Blood flow measurements (Doppler)
  • Amniotic fluid measurements

For further details contact the fetal medicine midwives on 01223-216185.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151