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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Intrauterine Growth Retardation

Intrauterine Growth Retardation

Alternate Names : Low Birth Weight, Small for Gestational Age, Dysmaturity, Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Intrauterine growth retardation, or IUGR, is a condition in which a fetus grows at a slower rate than expected.

What is going on in the body?

There are expected ranges of growth for a fetus at a given gestational age. The growth of a fetus depends on the health and nutrition of the mother and the health of the fetus. IUGR may occur if the health of the placenta or its blood supply is impaired. IUGR may also occur if the mother's nutrition, health, or lifestyle prevents a healthy pregnancy.

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

Women with certain conditions may be more likely to have a child with IUGR. These conditions include the following:

  • placental insufficiency, which leads to poor nutrition of the fetus
  • multiple pregnancies, such as twins
  • IUGR in a previous pregnancy
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • severe kidney disease
  • heavy smoking
  • poor weight gain in pregnancy
  • preeclampsia or eclampsia, which are complications of pregnancy causing high blood pressure in the mother
  • exposure to high altitudes
  • drug abuse
  • HIV infection
  • severe inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis
  • alcohol dependence or abuse
  • TORCH infections, a set of infectious diseases that can harm the fetus if the mother is infected during her pregnancy
  • poor nutrition in the mother
  • congenital or chromosome abnormalities in the fetus
  • recurrent bleeding, such as placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta implants over or near the opening of the cervix
  • blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia
  • small stature in the mother
  • placenta abruptio, which is a premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall


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    Intrauterine Growth Retardation: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/05/01

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