Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Policy Analysis.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >


FloridaHealthFinder.gov

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education


Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Intrauterine growth restriction

Definition

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to the poor growth of a baby while in the mother's womb during pregnancy.

Alternative Names

Intrauterine growth retardation; IUGR

Causes

Many different things can lead to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). An unborn baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrition from the placenta during pregnancy because of:

Problems at birth (congenital abnormalities) or chromosome problems are often associated with below-normal weight. Infections during pregnancy can also affect the weight of the developing baby. These include:

Risk factors in the mother that may contribute to IUGR include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Drug addiction
  • Clotting disorders
  • High blood pressure or heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Poor nutrition

If the mother is small, it may be normal for her baby to be small, but this is not due to IUGR.

Depending on the cause of IUGR, the developing baby may be small all over. Or, the baby's head may be normal size while the rest of the body is small.

Symptoms

A pregnant woman may feel that her baby is not as big as it should be. The measurement from the mother's pubic bone to the top of the uterus will be smaller than expected for the baby's gestational age. This measurement is called the uterine fundal height.

Exams and Tests

Intrauterine growth restriction may be suspected if the size of the pregnant woman's uterus is small. The condition is usually confirmed by ultrasound.

Further tests may be needed to screen for infection or genetic problems if IUGR is suspected.

Treatment

IUGR increases the risk that the baby will die inside the womb before birth. If your obstetrician thinks you might have IUGR, you will be closely monitored with regular pregnancy ultrasounds to measure the baby's growth, movements, blood flow, and fluid around the baby.

Nonstress testing will also be done. This involves simply listening to the baby's heart rate over a 20 to 30 minute time period.

Depending on the results of these tests, your baby may need to be delivered early.

Outlook (Prognosis)

After delivery, the newborn's growth and development depends on the severity and cause of IUGR. Discuss the baby's outlook with your obstetrician and pediatrician.

Possible Complications

IUGR increases the risk of pregnancy and newborn complications, depending on the cause. Babies whose growth is restricted often become more stressed during labor and need C-section delivery.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider right away if you are pregnant and notice that the baby is moving less than usual.

After giving birth, call your provider if your infant or child does not seem to be growing or developing normally.

Prevention

Following these guidelines will help prevent IUGR:

  • Do not drink alcohol, smoke, or use recreational drugs.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Get regular prenatal care.
  • If you have a chronic medical condition or you take prescribed medicines regularly, see your health care provider before you get pregnant. This can help reduce the effects your medical condition could have on your pregnancy and the baby.

References

Baschat AA, Galan HL, Ross MG, Gabbe SG. Intrauterine growth restriction. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 31.

Carlo WA. Prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders;2011:chap 91.

Figueras F, Gardosi J. Intrauterine growth restriction: new concepts in antenatal surveillance, diagnosis, and management. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;204:288-300.

Review Date:11/16/2014
Reviewed By:Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No