A growing belly is a pregnant woman’s pride. According to her, it is an indication of the growth of her baby inside the womb. But the size of the belly doesn’t always equate to the baby size. Do you know that even after extra care taken during pregnancy the child in the womb can fail to attain its apt growth and weight?
slow fetal growth

What Is Slow Fetal Growth?

Slow fetal growth, widely known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a condition that signifies that a baby is growing slowly than a normal baby while in the womb during pregnancy. The baby’s weight will be lesser than it ought to when compared with a normal growing baby in the same gestational period.

An infant’s development and weight are imperative. Slow fetal growth will result in babies with a low birth weight. Babies with low weight will probably have issues close to the delivery or immediately after delivery.
Truth be told, 60% of the neonatal deaths (the death of newborns within first 28 days after birth) are found to be due to low birth weight which is an immediate result of slow fetal growth.

How Many Types Of IUGRs Are There?

There are two types of growth retardation.

  1. Symmetrical or primary intrauterine growth retardation: Have a typically proportioned body and internal organs, but are less in size than other fetus of same gestational age. This type of IUGR is responsible for around 25% of all incidents of slow fetal growth.
  2. Asymmetrical or secondary intrauterine growth retardation: Have an ordinary sized head. Be that as it may, their body is much less in size than it ought to be. On an ultrasound, their head gives off an impression of being much bigger than their body.

What Are The Symptoms Of Slow Fetal Growth?

The main symptom can be that the mother is not putting on as much weight as expected. Your doctor may find that your uterus is smaller than anticipated for your phase of pregnancy.

How Is Slow Fetal Growth Diagnosed?

IUGR is generally diagnosed in the course of an ultrasound scan. In early pregnancy, fetus size smaller than normal might be no reason for worry. Some women are uncertain of their last menstrual period. In this manner, the fetus’s gestational age may not be precise. The baby may look small when it’s really the right size.
At the point when IUGR is speculated in early pregnancy, the specialist will screen the development of fetus through consistent ultrasounds. In the event that the fetus is unsuccessful in achieving the normal growth (by taking the measurement of fundal length and by examining whether it coincides with the age of pregnancy), IUGR is diagnosed.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Slow Fetal Growth?

IUGR happens for various reasons. Furthermore, it can begin at any phase of pregnancy. There are various components which increase the fetus’s IUGR risks. These components are partitioned into three classes:

  • Maternal reasons: This includes the health conditions of the mother
  • Fetal reasons: This includes the health conditions of the fetus
  • Uterine/placental reasons: These are also known as intrauterine factors. This includes the issues that happen in the uterus

Slow baby's growth

8 Possible Causes Of Slow Fetal Growth

Here are eight possible reasons that slow down the fetal growth.

  1. Poor lifestyle habits of mother: The way of life the mother brings into pregnancy can have an enduring effect on the child’s well being, a new analysis reveals. Researches signify that some of the maternal physical attributes and ways of life, for example, dietary lack, drug misuse, smoking propensity or liquor compulsion and non-utilization of folic acid supplements can expand the odds of slow fetal development
  2. Pre-eclampsia: Do you know the reason for your blood pressure being checked during your routine checkups? This is on the grounds that increased blood pressure can be the main indication of pre-eclampsia, frequently called ‘pregnancy-induced hypertension’ (PIH)
  3. Pre-eclampsia causes the veins to compress. This will affect the growth of the fetus due to the restriction of blood flow to the placenta. The developing infant gets less oxygen and decreased supplements than it ought to, leading to slow fetal growth

  4. Infections: When the fetus get exposed to the infections obviously passed from the mother such as syphilis (sexually transmitted bacterial infection), cytomegalovirus (viral infection which has significant impact when the immunity is weak as during pregnancy) toxoplasmosis (an infection with parasite transmitted mainly through under-cooked meat somewhat pass unnoticed in mother but cause harm to the fetus), and rubella also called german measles, the chances of slow fetal growth increases
  5. Multiple pregnancies: Multiple pregnancies develop at around the same rate as single pregnancies up to a specific point. The development rate of multiple pregnancies starts to slow eventually as the placenta can’t deal with any more development on the grounds that the children go head to head for nutrients. Likewise, twin pregnancies are twice as liable to create pre-eclampsia as single pregnancies and half of triplet pregnancies are found to create pre-eclampsia
  6. Placental insufficiency: Placental insufficiency is a condition when the placenta does not work properly as it should, resulting in the fetus getting less oxygen and nutrients from the mother. Obviously, this will lead to slow fetal growth
  7. Chromosomal abnormalities: Chromosomal variations from the norm are usual reasons for birth defects, therefore slowing down the fetal growth. Congenital abnormalities can also cause the baby not to grow properly
  8. Low level of amniotic fluids: An optimum level of amniotic fluid is required for the normal fetal development. The level of amniotic fluid can fall below normal (oligohydramnios) due to various reasons like due to some medicine taken by the mother, health condition of the mother, placenta abruption, slight rupture in amniotic sac etc. this will slow down the fetal growth
  9. Umbilical cord abnormalities: The umbilical cord is a long tube like structure which connects the fetus with the placenta of the mother and carry the oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s body (placenta) to the fetus. The umbilical line typically contains two umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein, which carry blood between the placenta and the unborn child. Sometimes umbilical cord possesses only one artery and is found associated with slow fetal growth

How Can I Prevent Slow Fetal Growth?

Some causes of IUGR are beyond your control and there is little that you can do. The first thing to do is to follow your doctor’s advice to the ‘T’, and eliminate the causes of slow fetal growth in your control. Leading a healthy lifestyle, staying away from stress, getting regular exercise, sleep and rest , and eating a well-balanced healthy diet are some measures that you can yourself take to avoid slow fetal growth.