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!