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Intrauterine Growth Restriction, Causes and Prevention

Intrauterine Growth Restriction, Causes and Prevention-Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is defined as a fetal growth that is less than normal for the population and for the growth potential of a specific baby.

It is a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than it would be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb.

In the past, the term IUGR and small for gestational age (SGA) were used interchangeably. Although related, they are not synonymous. IUGR is the failure of normal fetal growth caused by multiple adverse effects on the fetus.

Classification Intrauterine Growth Restriction.

There are two major classifications of IUGR, which could be symmetrical asymmetrical.


Here a baby is proportionally small. That means that all parts of the baby’s body are a similarly small size.

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Here the baby has a small size head and brain but the rest of the body is small. Delayed growth puts the baby at risk of certain health problems during pregnancy, delivery and after birth.

They include; low birth weight, difficulty handling the stresses of vaginal delivery, decreased oxygen level, hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) low resistance to infection, low Apgar scores(a test given immediately after birth to evaluate the newborn’s physical condition and determine need for special medical care, meconium, aspiration ( inhalation of stools passed while in the uterus) which can lead to breathing, abnormal high blood cell count.

In the most severe cases, IURG can lead to stillbirth. It can also cause long term growth problems.


Intrauterine Growth Restriction, Causes and Prevention

IUGR results when there is a problem that prevents the baby from getting adequate oxygen and nutrients from the mother via the placenta. This lack of nourishment slows the baby’s growth and development. The causes are grouped into following;

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Maternal Causes

  • Poor nutrition (malnutrition)
  • Infections such as rubella cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis
  • Anemia
  • Certain behavior such as smoking, drinking alcohol or abusing the drug.
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension

Uteroplacental Causes

  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Multible gestation (twin pregnancy)
  • Uterine malformation.

Fetal Cuases

  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Intrauterine infection


How can it be Prevented

Although, IUGR can occur when a mother is perfectly healthy, there are things a mother can do to reduce the risk of IUGR and increase the odds of a healthy pregnancy.
Ensure you keep all your prenatal appointments detecting potential problems early allows you to treat them early, a baby who does not move often or who stopped moving has a problem. If you notice changes in your baby.s movement visit the hospital.
Check your medications, because sometimes a medication that mothers take for another illness can lead to problem with her unborn baby.
Eat adequate meal, by ensuring you eat healthy food to help keep your body nourished.
Get plenty of rest to help you feel better and even make your baby grow normally.
Practice healthy lifestyle habits by avoiding alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug abuse.

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How can it be Managed

If a baby has been diagnosed with IUGR, treatment is individualized for each patient depending on the baby’s condition and the women’s month of pregnancy. The baby will be closely monitored, usually with frequent prenatal visits and ultrasounds examinations to keep track of growth and watch for other potential problems.

In some cases, the induction of labour may be recommended by the doctor if monitoring shows that the baby has stopped growing or has other problems.

A cesarean section might be done if stress of vaginal delivery is considered too risky for the baby. Although early delivery might be necessary, the goal is to keep the baby safe in the womb for as long as possible. sometimes amniocentesis can help determine lung maturity and whether the baby is likely to be able to breathe on his own.

In summary, IUGR is preventable, the best way to prevent it is by keeping all prenatal visits and testing appointments and adhering strictly to the health care provider’s recommendations. A pregnant woman should eat healthy diets to prevent anemia which is a major cause of IUGR . There is need for adequate rest, avoid alcohols,drugs, and tobacco intake.

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