What is Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)?
Intrauterine Growth Restriction is a condition where a fetus in the womb is not growing as expected. If put simply this means that the fetus’ weight is lesser than what is expected from the babies of their gestational age. Minor Intrauterine Growth Restriction may not cause any serious problems but if the IUGR is severe it can harm the baby before as well as after their birth. Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) is also known as Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). There are two types IUGR:
- Symmetrical IUGR (in this type of Intrauterine Growth Restriction all parts of baby’s body are small in size)
- Asymmetrical IUGR (in this type of Intrauterine Growth Restriction baby’s brain and head are in normal size but other parts of their body are small)
What are the complications caused by Intrauterine Growth Restriction?
The extent of complications caused by Intrauterine Growth Restriction depends on three factors:
- what is causing Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- how severe is Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- at what point of pregnancy Intrauterine Growth Restriction has started
Some common complications found in babies with severe IUGR are:
- Low birthweight
- Premature birth
- Meconium aspiration
- Trouble controlling body temperature (hypothermia)
- Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
- High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
- Low oxygen levels (perinatal asphyxia)
- Low calcium levels (hypocalcemia)
- High levels of Red Blood Cells (polycythemia)
- Feeding difficulties
- Breathing difficulties
What causes Intrauterine Growth Restriction?
Intrauterine Growth Restriction can be caused due to a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are, lack of blood flow or other problems within placenta or umbilical cord (placenta is a tissue responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby and umbilical cord is a cord that connects the baby with placenta).
Intrauterine Growth Restriction also occurs if a pregnant woman smokes, takes drugs or drinks heavily while being pregnant. The condition can also be caused if a pregnant woman is undergoing treatment for seizures or suffering from diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, lupus, sickle cell disease, autoimmune disorders, rubella, toxoplasmosis and syphilis.
Being pregnant with multiple babies and not getting adequate nutrition while being pregnant can also cause
Intrauterine Growth Restriction. So if you are pregnant you must see the Best Gynecologist in Islamabad to know how you can fulfil your body’s nutritional needs adequately.
How can Intrauterine Growth Restriction be diagnosed?
Whenever a pregnant woman visits her doctor for antenatal checkup they measure their belly starting from the top of the pubic bone to the top most part of the uterus. This measurement is called fundal height. After doctors are done taking this measurement they compare it with the expected measurement according to the gestational age of your baby. If fundal height is less than what is expected then there’s a very high chance that your baby may be suffering from Intrauterine Growth Restriction.
Other than measuring fundal height ultrasound can also detect if a baby is suffering from intrauterine growth restriction. Once your doctor is sure that your baby has Intrauterine Growth Restriction they will start treating it.
What can be done to prevent Intrauterine Growth Restriction?
Intrauterine Growth Restriction can occur to any pregnant woman regardless of their age, weight and health conditions. But you can definitely lessen your baby’s chances of getting Intrauterine Growth Restriction by following these tips:
- Never miss an appointment with the Best Gynecologist in Lahore. Because missing an appointment means that your doctor loses the track of your baby’s growth.
- Eat well, eating well means taking a well balanced diet. And if your doctor has prescribed any antenatal vitamins, never miss them.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
- Keep a record of your baby’s movements and if you feel anything abnormal consult your physician immediately or rush to a nearby ER.
- Always consult your physician before taking any kind of medication.
- If you have chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, manage them wisely.
- Sleep well, catch at least 8 hours of sleep at night and a 1 hour nap in the afternoon. Resting is extremely important for pregnant women, as it helps them stay calm and boosts baby’s growth too.