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January 17th, 2013, 09:39 AM
jdsm514 jdsm514 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by chickadee View Post
I had only one issue come up in my first-trimester screening (low free beta hCG), but was put on notice that I'd have the same monitoring plan beginning at 32 weeks. I was told by the genetic counselor that the predictive value of the hCG result for placental insufficiency (possibly leading to IUGR in later pregnancy) was very low (1%), and so I really put it out of my mind and didn't worry about it. I'm still sure that was the right way to think of it.

As it turned out, though, we did begin detecting slowed growth at 31 weeks. At that u/s the baby's growth was only 75% of what we would have expected since the last u/s at 27 weeks. I freaked out for about a week, very concerned that they'd need to deliver the baby very premature and that he would be tiny and underdeveloped. But the weekly NSTs and twice weekly BPPs I've had since then have reassured me that the baby continues to be healthy despite his slowed growth, and the increased protein my perinatologist recommended (I'm drinking an Ensure every day and eating a high-protein diet) seems to have helped to keep the baby's growth at the same rate (they've been doing growth ultrasounds every 2 weeks, and he's stayed at 75% of the expected rate). He doesn't yet meet the IUGR deifinition, so I've been able to keep him in and growing. He'll be small when he's delivered at 39 weeks, but full term and healthy.

The extra monitoring after 32 weeks won't hurt anything, and if you DO run into any issues it may help to provide some peace of mind. My OB told me that the BPPs are actually a far better indicator of fetal health than something like monitoring kick counts; kick counts tell you something about how the baby is doing at that moment, but apparently a good BPP has a predictive value of nearly 100% that the baby will be fine over the following week. That's been huge for me - when they do the BPP and the baby looks fine, I can be pretty sure he will continue to be fine over the next week even if I think I'm feeling him move a little less one morning or something. That kind of thing might not help as much for someone else, but for a worrier like me (and someone who's had multiple losses prior to this pregnancy, which will result in my first baby) it's been great.

Just my experience and two cents. I hope everything goes very smoothly with your pregnancy and that the extra monitoring turns out to not be needed at all. Good luck!!
Thank you for your feedback! It's very interesting to hear that the BPPs are fairly reliable at predicting a baby's health for a week or so. Oh, and I'm a worrier too, so I guess the extra monitoring could be reassuring...
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