The Importance of Speaking Up in Pregnancy

You may want to sit down for this read, it’s a long one…but I promise you a happy ending!!

If you’ve been following along with my pregnancy updates on social media, you’ll know that we’ve been monitoring baby girl’s growth very closely. If this is the first you’re hearing about it, let me get you up to speed…since week 20 (about 5 months into pregnancy), we learned through our ultrasound scan that baby isn’t growing at the pace our health care providers would like to see. Healthy babies typically fall within the 10-90th percentile mark. We were told that our baby was consistently under the 10th percentile, giving our midwives reason to worry that something could be wrong.

In order to determine whether she has Intrauterine Growth Restriction, a placenta that is performing poorly or some other condition, we were advised to receive monthly ultrasounds to check on her growth intervals.

All this became a long and stressful process because truly, no parent wants to hear even the slightest concern for their child’s well-being. Thankfully our midwives are trained experts at spotting potential problems before it becomes a problem and although their eagle eyes on this issue have been the source of most of my stress, I am very thankful for their consistent attention to detail.

All that being said, my gut feeling through this whole process has been that our baby girl is perfectly fine and healthy. Of course there is always the potential for pregnancy and birth (or just life in general) to not go as planned, I have always felt that to this point, she’s just fine.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce! “ – William Shakespeare

All that I can think is that she may be small, but she is strong. Her kicks against my womb are clear and feisty; and she gives me every reason for a reassured heart that God is in control.

After my last ultrasound appointment, I sat down to discuss all the possible options and outcomes with one of my midwives. She was gentle but honest about what may lie ahead: loss of my home birth plan, early intervention via induction, and potentially even a scheduled c-section if an OB determined our situation too risky to allow things to proceed on their own.

This news was incredibly disappointing and frustrating for me. As I came to terms with our situation, I began to realize that I had more question needing to be answered. Most importantly, could ethnicity and gender be the determining factor behind her small size? She is, after all, an asian baby girl. Or perhaps there is a variation between standard North American and Asian growth size charts?

I needed to know.

So when my midwife called with the most recent ultrasound reports to update me, I asked (through emotional tears), if she could possibly dig up an Asian growth scan chart for comparison? I told her that I didn’t know if this would give us any new information but for my own peace, and mental/emotional sanity, I needed to ask all the questions.

She was more than happy to oblige.

So the other day we met for our 34 week appointment and laid out all the charts in front of us with the report from every scan since the beginning of this pregnancy, just as I had requested. We graphed each point on a chart for mothers of South East Asian heritage and compared it to a chart for Canadian- born females.

And guess what, after reviewing all the data from various growth scan charts, our girl is not under the 10th percentile… she is in the 50th-75th percentile, with every part of her steadily growing in size and strength.

Prayers answered! All our midwives concerns are now relieved and we are thankfully, able to continue on without objections.

It just goes to show the importance of speaking up for yourself and advocating for the very best healthcare in pregnancy (and all the time). Sometimes you must ask all the questions, research all the possible options and leave no stone unturned in your quest for the best. Our health care providers are good at what they do, but sometimes we need to give that extra push to receive something outside of the norm and with every case being so different, there’s never any harm in asking for what you want/need.

If something does not feel right, or if you need more information to feel at peace with a decision on your healthcare, speak up. Do not be afraid to advocate for what you need.

Remember, as a parent, this little one’s well-being has been entrusted to you and ultimately, you have to make the decision you feel is right. Every choice will have its pros and cons, so seek out all the information, do you own research and remember that what is right for one family, isn’t always right for you.

But never ever be afraid to speak up or ask all the questions during pregnancy.


XO, Tara

Photos by Tamara Clark Photography 




4 Comments Add yours

  1. JH says:

    Yes! I am Chinese myself and have wondered if there is a difference. My gut said “yes” and you have helped proven it. Thank you 🙂

    1. Tara Teng says:

      Definitely. It only makes sense! Make sure you ask your health care provider to compare growth charts if you are ever in the same situation. Wishing you the best!

  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Tara,
    We were shocked and surprised when we found out our baby was in the 1-2% at 20 weeks. We were prepared for dire outcomes and the stress of the unknown was crippling. After many many tests, amino, ultrasounds galore it was confirmed our baby was ‘genetically normal’ but still IUGR. Long story at 37 weeks I had a 6 lb baby. My smallest babe by several pounds. At 1.5 years old she is still tiny! Like her 4′ 10 grandma ☺️. She will no doubt be a smaller person but she’s healthy and here in our arms!

    1. Tara Teng says:

      So sorry that you had to go through all that stress! It certainly is difficult. But I’m so glad to hear your sweet girl is strong and thriving! Little people aren’t to be underestimated. xoxo

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