Babies like all good things come in different sizes, some are small some are healthy while others are really cute (oversize). Sometimes fetus does not develop to that level to which they should normally be. In simple terms this is called intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). IUGR or intrauterine growth retardation is defined as improper or poor growth of the fetus in the mother’s uterus during gestational period. The condition is predominant in the third trimester of pregnancy. IUGR can lead to small for date or small for gestational age baby which implies that the weight of the baby is less than 10th percentile for the gestational age. The IUGR babies have a low birth weight.
Regular antenatal monitoring and routine clinical examination of the pregnant woman should be done in order to ensure early detection of intrauterine retardation of growth. The third trimester of pregnancy is particularly crucial. The nutritional needs of the expectant mother should be properly taken care of. Her diet should include minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients. Besides food, light exercises such as gentle walks are also recommended. Healthy food keeps you and your baby healthy and well nourished. Take plenty of rest as this will promote proper growth.
The frequent causes of intrauterine growth retardation are listed as under:
There are two types of intrauterine growth retardation namely:
Proper intrauterine fetal growth is dependent upon placental, maternal and genetic factors and under normal circumstances the newborn has appropriate size. The fetal-placental-maternal factors act in junction and unison to cater the developmental needs of growing fetus in uterus. Growth restriction or suppression of the fetus is due to the any disturbance in these three vital units (maternal-placental-fetal). The underlying reasons can be either environmental or intrinsic.
Early diagnosis and proper management are the main factors in treating intrauterine growth retardation and thereby reducing perinatal morbidity. Fetal IUGR is an important cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity besides prematurity which is the leading cause. Ultrasonography is the most authentic and reliable technique for assessing fetal growth and development. The biparietal diameter (basic biometric parameters used to assess fetal size), abdominal circumference, head circumference and femur length are the main parameters involved in the assessment of IUGR. The estimation of amniotic fluid is another important parameter for assessing IUGR. Diminishing amniotic fluid is related with IUGR and if it is less than 5 cm, significant fetal morbidity is seen. The amniotic fluid index is calculated by adding the largest cord-free pocket in four quadrants of equally divided uterus.
A myriad of effects are seen as a consequence of intrauterine growth impairment:
It is seen that intrauterine growth retardation is common in women having carrying more than one baby or those with previous IUGR pregnancy. Medical ailment such as lung, heart, blood or autoimmune conditions increase the threat or susceptibility of a woman for having IUGR pregnancy. Underweight mothers or poor appetite can also increase the risk for expectant mothers.
OCD is obsessive compulsive disorder defined as an anxiety disorder associated with unwanted uncontrolled thoughts and repetitive behavior an individual is forced to perform. The obsessive thoughts and behaviors are irrational and difficult to resist.
Growth retardation in fetal life predisposes the threat of OCD in later life. The reason is idiopathic. The lag in the development of fetal brain is attributed to the obsessive compulsive disorder.
The babies with intrauterine growth retardation are likely to be affected with following fatal complications:
The dangerous complications associated with IUGR can be prevented by early diagnosis and adequate management. Planning in the correct time to deliver the baby is an ideal method to evade the harmful perinatal effects.