12 Serious Causes Of Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR) During Pregnancy

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Once you are pregnant, you have to be fully informed about various stages that encompass the development of your baby. You will not only be excited about the upcoming celebration, you will also be anxious about the whole proceedings surrounding the childbirth. It is always good to be informed about the cons and not just the pros of pregnancy.

IUGR or intrauterine growth retardation or restriction, is one of the conditions that you need to know about when it comes to your baby’s development. Most pregnancies cite healthy growth of babies until due date. However, there can be exceptions where babies can be smaller than the usual, by the time it’s time for labor and delivery.

Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR)

What is intrauterine growth restriction in pregnancy? Well, IUGR is a condition in which a baby measure smaller than is expected to be.

  • Typically, a baby is said to have intrauterine growth restriction or retardation if the weight is below the 10th percentile of the gestational age.
  • There is no telling what the actual size of the baby is until after delivery.
  • There have been cases when the baby who was found smaller in the womb was actually born normal in size.
  • A lot depends on how accurately you calculate the date of your last menstrual period before pregnancy. Apart from this how your doctor measures your baby via ultrasound is accountable.

[ Read: Ultrasound During Pregnancy ]

12 Causes Of Intrauterine Growth Retardation IUGR

There are many underlying factors that affect the growth of your baby inside the womb. Some of the main causes of IUGR have been cited as below:

  1. Abnormalities in the placenta. If the placenta is too small or not functioning as expected.
  2. The placenta is too low inside the uterus. This is called placenta previa.
  3. Pre-existing medical complications in a mother, like preeclampsia and high blood pressure.
  4. Mothers with kidney ailments, diabetes, heart disease, anemia, lung ailments and blood clotting disorders.
  5. Fetal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities, anencephaly (brain complication), kidney defects, etc.
  6. Mothers carrying twins or multiples.
  7. Mothers with a history of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.
  8. Mothers with sexually transmitted diseases like toxoplasmosis, rubella, syphilis etc. that are transmitted to the baby sometimes.
  9. Malnutrition during pregnancy that inhibits growth.
  10. Use of anticonvulsant drugs by mothers.
  11. Underweight mothers.
  12. Mothers living in high altitudes like hilly regions.

[ Read: Blood Clot In Placenta During Pregnancy ]

Checking The Size Of Your Baby

Usually, your gynecologist measures the size of your baby during every prenatal visit.

  • The measurement is done via ultrasound.
  • Your doctor will also measure the size of your belly lining with every progressing trimester to check the compliance with healthy growth.
  • It is very important to list the accurate date of your last menstrual period because your entire pregnancy is timed based on the same.
  • If you fail to mention the right date, your doctor’s measurements and estimation of due date will fall apart, creating complications.

Babies With IUGR

Babies with retardation or smaller size are said to be more prone to health complications and other issues during childbirth. It is thus important to understand how serious the IUGR is so that you can take action much in advance.

  • Babies whose weight is below 5th to 3rd percentile are said to have more complications, both in short and long term.
  • Babies who are small in size receive less oxygen and nutrients while in womb.
  • Babies with IUGR often require Cesarean as they are unable to take the pressure while tolerating labor.
  • Babies with IUGR will have low blood sugar, will be more vulnerable to infections and may have jaundice at the time of birth.
  • Babies with small size are more exposed to meconium aspiration where they tend to breathe their own stool while in womb.
  • Some studies also indicate that babies with IUGR are more likely to be affected with ailments such as cerebral palsy, heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure in the later part of their lives.

[ Read: Anemia In Pregnancy ]

6 Types Of Tests Done For IUGR

Usually, your doctor will perform the following tests to confirm the diagnosis for intrauterine growth restriction IUGR and take further course of action:

  • Ultrasound to study the baby’s anatomy in detail to find any structural defects.
  • Amniocentesis test to check for chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Blood tests to check for clotting disorders and preeclampsia.
  • Ultrasound every 2 to 4 weeks to check on baby’s heart rate and size.
  • Fetal monitoring with non-stress tests, Doppler ultrasound and biophysical profiles (to understand if the blood supply is normal from mother to baby).
  • Fetal kick count test to track baby’s movements and agility.

Your doctor will plan a C section surgery once you are 37 to 39 weeks to deliver your baby safely.

[ Read: How To Use Doppler Fetal Monitor ]

Things To Do To Help Your Baby

A lot depends on how you deal with your baby while pregnant:

  • If you were an addict before, it is advisable to stop while you are pregnant.
  • Plenty of bed rest is required while your baby thrives inside your womb.
  • You should also ensure consumption of healthy meals and diet if you are an underweight mom.
  • You need to gain adequate weight and ensure healthy nutrients are on their way to your baby inside the womb.

[ Read: Pregnancy Diet Chart ]

Talk to your practitioner to understand further measures while dealing with your baby in IUGR. Simple measures from your end matter while your doctor does the best!

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