Intrauterine growth restriction is a condition where the foetus is smaller than it should be according to its age because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the uterus. This puts the baby at risk for several dangerous conditions during pregnancy, delivery and post-birth. Some of these are low weight at birth, caesarian delivery, decreased oxygen levels, low blood sugar, low resistance power, breathing problems and low body temperature. IUGR can lead to stillbirth in extreme conditions and to long-term growth problems too. This is the main reason why prenatal birth monitoring is very important.
IUGR can occur in expecting mothers who have a problem with the placenta. We already know that placenta is the cord of life that joins the mother with the foetus. It provides oxygen and food to the developing baby inside the womb. Apart from this, IUGR can occur if the mother has:
The main symptom of IUGR is a small baby for its age in the womb. It may look small and sickly and the placenta is dry and shrivelled.
Dealing with IUGR depends on many factors. Usually, doctors go for a slew of tests to see how the infant is doing. A detailed sonogram is usually performed to look for foetal anomalies. Tests like a urine sample, ultrasound, platelet count and liver function test are also administered to the mother. The mother is put on bed rest to improve blood flow to the foetus and antenatal steroids are prescribed to promote foetal lung maturity. General management also includes treatment of maternal disease like high BP and cessation of substance abuse or alcohol.
For management of IUGR, daily blood pressure measurements, foetal movement profiles, serial ultrasound examinations are important to determine the severity and progression of IUGR. If the situation becomes critical, labour is induced and the baby is delivered by caesarian section.
IUGR can’t be cured and can only be managed so it’s best to prevent it in the first place by keeping all of your prenatal appointments. You must be aware of your baby's movements. If your baby is not moving much or stops suddenly, you should rush to your doctor. You must also not take any medicine without consulting your doctor during pregnancy. Eat healthy and rest fully to have a risk free birth and last, but not the least, stay away from drugs, alcohol and smoke, even second hand, for the health of your baby.