IUGR refers to a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than expected because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb. The growth restriction can be symmetrical, where the fetus is smaller but proportional, or growth can by asymmetric where the fetus’ abdomen is smaller than the rest of the body - this usually occurs only in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
Low BMI of the mother
Insufficient nutritional intake during pregnancy
Smoking, drugs, alcohol
High blood pressure during pregnancy
Gestational diabetes of mother
Small volume of amniotic fluid
How is IUGR identified?
During a clinical examination, the doctor may notice that the top of the uterus (fundus) is lower than would be expected at a certain week of the pregnancy. Currently, the most effective examination method is ultrasound diagnostics, where individual parameters are evaluated and compared against each other and against the week of the pregnancy. Dopplometry is used to assess fetal and placental blood supply.
How is IUGR treated?
If individual parameters of the fetuses growth start faltering after the 34th week of pregnancy, you may be advised to end the pregnancy via induction or cesarean section.
For pregnancies shorter than 34 weeks, all efforts are made to make the pregnancy last until the 34th week. However, in the case that the growth of the fetus is faltering too quickly, it is important to overcome at least 48 hours, during which the fetus’ lungs are adapted for growth outside of the womb using corticosteroids.
What are the risks to the fetus?
There is an increased likelihood for the necessity for cesarean section, insufficient oxygen supply to the fetus, low blood sugar in the fetus, as well as a higher risk of impaired development of motor and mental abilities.