What is intrauterine growth restriction ?

This is when a baby in her mother’s womb grows poorly than expected to during pregnancy. These babies are too small for their gestational age.


What factors or medical condition lead to intrauterine growth restriction ?

Factors or medical condition that causes IUGR include

  • high blood pressure or heart disease
  • genetic disorders or birth defect
  • poor nutrition
  • drug addiction
  • preeclampsia
  • multiple pregnancy
  • alcohol abuse
  • smoking
  • kidney disease
  • exposure to infections passed from the mother such as cytomegalovirus, German measles (rubella), toxoplasmosis, and syphilis


Am I at risk?

Factors that increase your risk for intrauterine growth restriction include

  • multiple pregnancy
  • umbilical cord problems
  • placental abnormalities
  • poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • pregnancy induced hypertension
  • chromosomal abnormalities or birth defects
  • low levels of amniotic fluid


How do I know my baby is smaller than his gestational age?

Your baby may not feel as big as it should be. A measurement of the fundal height (measurement from the mother’s pubic bone to the top of the uterus)  by your health care provider will be smaller than expected for the baby’s gestational age. Ultrasound calculations will be smaller than would be expected for that gestational age.


I have intrauterine growth restriction. What next?

Treatment depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy.
If you are less than 34 weeks pregnant, your doctor will closely monitor you until 34 weeks gestation or beyond.  If there is any cause for concern, you will be delivered immediately.
If you are 34 weeks or greater, your doctor will recommend induction for early labor.


What effects will IUGR have on my baby ?

IUGR may lead to the following complications in your baby

  • increased  risk for meconium aspiration
  • low blood sugar
  • increased number of red blood cells
  • decreased blood flow due to an increased number of red blood cells
  • increased risk for hypoxia
  • increased  risk for motor and neurological disabilities


How can I prevent this condition ?

Take these precaution to reduce your risk of IUGR.

Get early prenatal care and keep up with your prenatal appointments.

Eat healthy.
Avoid the use of  alcohol, smoking  or use recreational drugs.
Content Sources

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR); Small for Gestational Age (SGA). American Pregnancy Association. Accessed June 10, 2014

Intrauterine growth restriction. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001500.htm. Accessed June 10, 2014

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/iugr-intrauterine-growth-restriction. Accessed June 10, 2014

Intrauterine growth restriction IGR. The Nemours Foundation. http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/endocrine/iugr.html. Accessed June 10, 2014

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