Last updated September 2011. Planned review date: September 2013
Problems with your baby's growth/development (IUGR/FGR)
All parents worry about whether their baby is developing normally, and it can be devastating to discover there may be a problem.
Premature birth can be caused by problems with the way the baby is growing in your womb, or by a health problem within the developing baby.
Growth problems IUGR/FGR
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), also known as fetal growth restriction (FGR), is a condition in which the developing baby is below the tenth percentile for his gestational age. There are several factors that could cause a baby's growth to slow down:
- placental problems
- multiple pregnancies
- diabetes, including gestational diabetes
- the mother smoking or using drugs during pregnancy
- the mother abusing alcohol during pregnancy
There are various conditions associated with IUGR, including fetal distress (often indicated by an abnormal heart rate) and hypothermia. If a scan reveals that your baby has IUGR, the healthcare team may need to artificially induce your labour.
Signs and symptoms
IUGR/FGR is normally diagnosed during routine antenatal appointments. Your midwife will check the height of your baby. If IUGR is suspected, you will be sent for a scan for confirmation.
You will be closely monitored and the treatment will depend on the level of growth restriction. If it is severe, your healthcare team may recommend delivering the baby.
In this section
Explaining premature birth:
Your premature baby:
You can also read about
Willacy H (2010) Intrauterine Growth Restriction, EMIS Clinical Reference Article, Patient Plus
Pallotto EK, Kilbride HW (2006) Perinatal outcome and later implications of intrauterine growth restriction, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 49(2):257-69.
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