Frequently asked questions

What is intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)?


Intrauterine growth restriction is known also as fetal growth restriction. It is a condition in which a fetus does not grow as much as he or she is supposed to grow.




What is fetal growth restriction?


Fetal growth restriction is also known as intrauterine growth restriction. It is a condition in which a fetus does not grow as much as he or she is supposed to grow.




What is small for gestational age?


Small for gestational age (SGA) is a condition in which a baby's birth weight is less than 9 of every 10 babies born at that gestational age. Small for gestational age babies are usually healthy, but many babies with growth restriction are also diagnosed with small for gestational age because of their small size.




Is there anything that I can do to help my baby grow better?


Unfortunately, there are few effective treatments for IUGR except in certain cases. Researchers are still looking to find ways to prevent and treat IUGR. In general, it is good to eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and avoid risky behaviors such as smoking and drug use.




Are there any special diets that I can eat to help my baby grow better?


There are no specific diets that are proven to help a baby grow better. However, in general, it is a good idea to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.




How is IUGR diagnosed?


Intrauterine growth restriction may be diagnosed before or after birth. IUGR is diagnosed before birth by ultrasound measurements of the fetus's size and blood flow patterns. After birth, IUGR is diagnosed if the baby has specific features, such as a small body size, short length, or less than expected fat stores under the skin.




Why does it matter if my baby has IUGR?


Growth restricted babies are at risk for certain health challenges. After birth, these babies are more likely to have low blood sugar, jaundice, and problems breathing. Later in life, these babies are more likely to problems with development, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.




What other resources are there for IUGR?


There are support groups for IUGR on Facebook. Local newborn intensive care units (NICUs) often have a parent-to-parent groups where you can meet other parents with similar diagnoses. NICU social workers often have resources, too. There are other websites with information about IUGR, such as www.magicfoundation.org and www.fetalhealthfoundation.org. Dr. Zinkhan is the author of the book Tiny But Mighty: A parent's guide to navigating their child's diagnosis of intrauterine growth restriction (coming soon!).




How common is IUGR?


IUGR impacts 3-14% of pregnancies. This means that between 114,000 and 456,000 babies are born with a diagnosis of growth restriction in the United States each year. In developing countries, the percent of babies with growth restriction is even higher and often affects up to 30-50%.




How does IUGR impact my pregnancy?


Obstetricians and midwives will monitor your baby's growth closely. Depending on how your baby is doing, you may need to get additional testing, including non-stress testing or biophysical profiles. Your obstetrician may also do some testing for specific conditions to find out why your baby is small. It is more likely that you will need to delivery by cesarean section because growth restricted babies are sometimes less able to handle the stress of vaginal delivery.




Are there any treatments for IUGR?


There are no specific treatments for IUGR. Some research shows that aspirin or low molecular weight heparin may help, particularly if started before 16 weeks of pregnancy. Researchers are still looking for treatments. See the blog page of this website for results from recent clinical trials and the research page for more information about currently enrolling clinical trials.





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