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Can Dwarfism Be Diagnosed During Pregnancy?

May 27, 2013

This week the Disability Living blog is writing about dwarfism, also known as short stature or skeletal dysplasia. Disability Living routinely blogs about issues that are relevant to Canada’s disability community, and dwarfism is one such subject. Are you curious about dwarfism? Read on to discover whether or not dwarfism can be diagnosed during pregnancy.

Can Dwarfism Be Diagnosed During Pregnancy 199x300 Can Dwarfism Be Diagnosed During Pregnancy?

What is dwarfism?

Dwarfism (also called skeletal dysplasia or short stature) “is short stature resulting from a particular medical condition.” Adults who are less that 4 feet 10 inches are sometimes defined as being affected by dwarfism. However, “short stature in and of itself is not a disorder.”

Can dwarfism be detected during pregnancy?

It can be difficult to detect dwarfism during pregnancy. This is because doctors have to work harder to determine the date of a child’s conception, particularly if the baby is smaller than average.

What types of tests do doctors perform to detect dwarfism?

There are several tests that doctors will do to try and detect dwarfism in an unborn child. Here are a few of those tests:

Measurements – A physician can measure a baby’s legs, arms and head during an ultrasound. During pregnancy, there are normal gestational milestones that a baby should be reaching. If the child is not reaching those gestational milestones, dwarfism could potentially be the cause.

Amniotic fluid check – A physician will measure amniotic fluid to determine whether or not dwarfism is present. If a mother has too much amniotic fluid, that can be an indication of dwarfism.

Chorionic villus sampling – Chorionic villus sampling at 11 weeks can help a doctor confirm dwarfism. Learn about chorionic villus sampling at

Amniocentesis testing – This type of test is done around 15 weeks and can help a doctor know if a child will be affected by dwarfism. Read about amniocentesis testing at

Learn more about dwarfism

You can learn more about dwarfism (what is it, who it affects, etc.) by following the Disability Living blog this week. Feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts by commenting on each blog post.


Image made available by anthonyfarris on Flickr through Creative Commons License.

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