Does Short Height of A Woman Affect Her Pregnancy?


There are chances for a short woman to face pregnancy complications. However, it doesn’t mean that every woman with short height cannot have a normal delivery. There are other factors apart from genetics such as nutrition, habits, and lifestyle which affects one’s pregnancy.

What is Considered as Short Height?

Well, there’s not a certain specific height which is associated with normal delivery. Usually, a height below 5 ft is considered short for women. At the same time, it does not infer that women below 5 ft are not capable of giving birth to a full-term baby.

How Does Short Stature Affect Pregnancy?

In some cases, short height of a woman does create some complications when pregnant. Below are some of the complications of short stature in pregnancy:

1. Premature birth

Prematurity is the foremost complication on the list among other pregnancy complications. Usually, a baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature. And such babies, are on the risk of having respiratory or digestive issues. According to a study, the short stature of a woman may influence the duration of a baby in her womb, which may result in preterm birth.

2. Lack of required oxygen to the foetus

At times, prolonged labour may create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the foetus inside one’s womb. In some rare case, it might hinder the supply of the required amount of oxygen for its survival.

3. Excessive bleeding

Excessive bleeding is another complication one may have to face at the time of delivery. During a vaginal birth, short women have to apply more force to push out the baby, as the baby has less room to come out, this may result in damage to the vaginal tissue, and it may lead to excessive bleeding.

4. Episiotomy

Episiotomy is the process of making a small cut between the vagina and anus of a woman to aid in the delivery of the head of the baby out. Usually, the cut made will heal with time; however, since the cut in short women is much deeper, healing time is longer.

5. Low Birth Weight and Height of Baby

Since there is not enough space for the baby to develop fully due to short uterus and pelvis, it may result in low birth weight and height of the baby.

6. Obstetric Fistula

Obstetric fistula refers to a hole that forms between the vagina and the urinary tract or rectum. The layer between the vagina and rectum gives way to create a passage for the baby to come out. However, if the birth canal is small for the baby to come out, if the labour push is carried for a prolonged time, it may result in damage to the tissue of the birth canal. Hence, the odds of developing obstetric fistula in shorter women is higher.

7. Cephalopelvic Disproportion

Cephalopelvic disproportion is a condition wherein the head of is too large to fit through the pelvis of the mother for a normal vaginal delivery. Such cases are higher in shorter women as their pelvis is smaller than the other women. It may result in damage to the pelvis tissue if the labour pushing is prolonged. According to a study, maternal height and pregnancy complications are closely related in some women.

What Can Be Done to Reduce the Possibilities of Complications?

Since the height is related to genes, there is little one can do about it. Moreover, not every woman with short height goes through pregnancy complication associated with maternal heights. However, there are factors such as lack of nutrition during one’s childhood, which may shorten the maternal height. So, it is important for mothers to provide proper nutrition to their children.


During pregnancy, it is recommended to focus on other factors such as proper intake of nutrition, balanced weight, adequate exercise to ensure a normal delivery. A gap of 18-23 months between pregnancies is also recommended to ensure a smooth delivery. This time frame ensures that a woman’s body replenishes essential nutrition lost during the previous delivery, and is ready to nurture the next baby properly.


1. Do Shorter Women Face more Complications at the Time of Delivery?

Even though it does not hold for all petite woman but in some cases, shorter women may face more pregnancy complications than other.

2. Is It Possible for a Baby Born to a Short Woman to Grow with Short Height?

Due to the lack of space for the foetus to grow properly in a short uterus, there is a possibility for such babies to have a short height in their later years. However, it does not hold true for everyone. There are cases where a child born to a petite woman grows taller than her parents.

3. Can a Short Woman give Birth Naturally?

Not all short women are subject to non-conventional or unnatural delivery. Hence, there are possibilities for short women to give birth naturally. However, they are more susceptible to face more pregnancy complications while giving birth than others.

Short height is not the only factor which affects the pregnancy. Hence, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor and focus on other complications which may be prevented through proper care to ensure a smooth delivery.

Also Read: Cervical Length in Pregnancy