Monday, January 28, 2013

The Swedes make some big babies

Now I have not had a baby in the US, but wow, they make some big babies in Sweden. And The Swede and I happen to have small babies. And this is an anomaly for the Swedish health care system.

Pregnancy in Sweden is generally a very, very hands off affair. You see your midwife once for the first trimester, not at all in the 2nd trimester, and about every other week until you are 40 weeks pregnant (of course this can vary depending on your age and where you live, and does not include ultrasound visits which are extra).

Pregnancy is treated as a healthy state of being, rather than an illness, as long as you fit within a certain category. And then, well, they go from being hands-off to being all hands on deck.

With my first pregnancy, this scared the crap out of me. Since I apparently don’t have big babies, I ended up in a high-risk category that went from ‘Hey, see you in a couple of weeks to measure the size of your belly’ to ‘see you twice a week to run a variety of ultrasounds and non-stress tests.’ This was pretty scary considering no one ever found anything actually wrong with my pregnancy.

And what is even worse, the Swedes don’t seem to go by the general 5.5 lb border for being a healthy weight baby – they go by 6 lbs. And if your baby is not over 6lbs they want to keep you in the hospital for awhile to monitor everything.

With Little Swede they weighed him right away because, as the midwife said at the time, she was afraid if he went to the bathroom he would fall below the limit. And given the amount of testing we had done in utero, there was really no reason to keep us any longer for observation in a special ward. We made it, by a few oz. Yay!!

This time around, we’ve been to one growth ultrasound so far, and guess what, small baby again. Not in the high-risk group yet, but in the ‘let’s monitor this more closely’ group that we ended up in at the beginning of this nonsense last time around.

I’m trying not to get worked up about this, and just accept the fact that I have small babies. But it is a little scary when a country that is known for few medical interventions, suddenly wants a lot of medical intervention.

But I think everything will be OK. In the newspaper in The Swede’s hometown, when we announced Little Swede’s birth, there was Little Swede and then two babies who were over 10.5 lbs. So I guess I am very grateful I have little babies and not Vikings. Little Swede has since caught up and isn’t such a Little Swede anymore.

And who knows, these growth ultrasounds are notoriously wrong, I could still be having a Viking!


  1. I read somewhere that the Scots used to be the biggest people in Europe. Is it something to do with cold weather?

  2. I think it's because no smaller darker races have wanted to live in such a cold place, so the gene pool has stayed tall! We have areas in the UK, mostly in the east, where the vikings invaded that are still taller and blonder/redder than other areas. My babies were under 6lbs and soon caught up. I was very grateful indeed that they were small. I hid my glee from the midwives very successfully. It was painful enough without producing a whopping 14-pounder.

  3. My weight at birth was 4450 grams or 9.8 pounds.

  4. Interesting, perhaps it is the cold? Hadn't thought about that.

    Thanks for proving my theory with more anecdotal evidence, Fredrik! :)

  5. My half viking/half roman girl is indeed bigger than the other italian babies I know.
    When relating myself to the Italian system, I know that the "growing curves" are slightly different here.
    And yes, Swedes are somehow very concerned about the weight of their babies and I haven't understood why...

  6. My second child was 5080 gr. So when little sister arrived with just 3950 gr, it felt quite easy to deliver. Swedish-Finnish genes here.

  7. My mom is american and I was 6.6 pounds (but crazy tall) and my husband who is all swede was 13.3 ounces.
    My vajayjay is already hurting by just the thought of delivering our first baby. (Which isn't even conceived yet...