A number of related conditions of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) exist that can adversely affect the fetus and the newborn child. Some of these involve health conditions of the mother including lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and diet. Other maternal health issues relate to hypertension, heart and respiratory disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
Some issues for the fetus are known to be related conditions of IUGR including:
- abnormalities in the chromosomes
- being part of a multiple pregnancy, for example twins or triplets
- congenital birth defects
Also some conditions of the placenta and uterus are related to IUGR such as a decreased blood flow. If blood flow decreases, the fetus’s organs may not develop normally. Insufficient blood also deprives the fetus of oxygen, lowering its heart rate to a threatening level. Other contributing complications include the placenta separating from the uterus or attaching abnormally, and infections of the reproductive system.
The pregnancy can continue to term, but newborns may be premature, requiring intensive neonatal care. In some cases, the danger to the fetus warrants an early delivery by cesarean section. Following birth, a variety of related conditions of IUGR can arise such as:
- hypoglycemia (blood sugar is too low)
- low levels of oxygen
- difficulty breathing (meconium aspiration)
- excessive red blood cells (polycythemia)
- problems maintaining normal body temperature