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Study Finds Previous Preterm Delivery Means Small Baby for Later Births

I delivered my first daughter just shy of 37 weeks. Although technically she was considered premature, she was born a healthy little girl.

Because my first was early, I’ve been curious if this one will come early as well. My doctor said there is a good chance of it, but it’s always hard to tell. I am currently one week away from when I went into labor with my first pregnancy and have been on high alert just in case I do happen to go into labor early.

At my 36 week appointment today my doctor said I am progressing well, but she still thinks I have a couple more weeks to go. She said I might even go further than I did in my first pregnancy. If that’s the case, this little girl will make it to full term.

I have my hospital bags packed and wasn’t sure whether or not to include the preemie clothes in my bag. According to a new study presented yesterday at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, I need to keep the smaller clothes because my second will most likely be small even if carried to full term.

Researchers of the study found that women who delivered their first child early are more likely to have another baby that is small for their gestational age, even if that baby is carried to full term.

“Obstetricians should know that mothers who deliver prematurely are more likely to have smaller babies in the subsequent full term pregnancy,” said Jen Jen Chang, Ph.D., assistant professor at the department of epidemiology at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. “They should closely monitor fetal weight and fetal growth in mothers who have delivered early, even if the mothers are receiving treatments to prevent them from giving birth prematurely again.”

When I went for the baby’s height and weight check a couple of weeks ago, the baby was measuring at what she should for the gestational age and was right on track with what my daughter weighed at the same time. My doctor has monitored me more closely in these past couple of weeks and I started my weekly visits a little bit ahead of what she usually would just to see if I was making any progression.

There has been much research in the past that has shown mothers who deliver their first baby early are more likely to have their next baby early, but the current study dives deeper into subject to find out if those babies are small like the first. The study followed over 197,000 Missouri women who had normal pregnancies and gave birth between 1989 and 2005.

After reading the results of this study, it makes me more curious as to whether or not the findings will be accurate with my pregnancy. As I make my way closer and closer to 37 weeks, or full term, this baby will have spent more time in the womb than my daughter, but does that really mean she will still me small? Guess I will have to wait a couple more weeks to find out!

Read more from Lauren at A Mommy in the City. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter !

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