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Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)

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Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) can be a serious condition with significant complications for a newborn baby. The Maternal Fetal Medicine Program at Florida Hospital specializes in maternal and fetal complications of pregnancy. Highly trained and experienced maternity and pediatric health care professionals apply expertise, advanced technology and a caring touch to managing high-risk pregnancies such as IUGR and treating babies born with the condition. Women at higher risk for IUGR, or who are suspected of the condition are encouraged to seek a consultation with Florida Hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. 

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What is Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

In the condition known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), the fetus does not grow as much as it should for the number of weeks in the pregnancy. IUGR occurs when cells and tissues are prevented from growing or made smaller by an abnormality or other problem. Also called fetal growth retardation, IUGR results in overall poor fetal growth. Doctors diagnose IUGR if the fetus’s estimated weight is less than 10 percent of the weight typical in other fetuses of the same gestational age.

In addition to the fetus being small, organs may not grow as they should. If insufficient blood flows through the placenta, oxygen will be restricted, lowering the fetus’ heart rate, a high risk complication.

Babies with intrauterine growth restriction may be born at term or prematurely. The newborn may have a wide-eyed, malnourished  appearance and is usually pale and thin with dry, loose skin. The umbilical cord which normally looks fat and shiny often is thin and appears dull. The term small for gestational age (SGA) describes babies born with IUGR.

A number of complications may affect the newborn such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), problems regulating body temperature and respiratory problems. The child likely will face long-term growth problems.

Locations for Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)