Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a medical term that is used to describe a condition in which the foetus is found to be smaller than expected when compared with the weeks of pregnancy. It means the growth of the foetus is restricted. Usually, it gets detected through ultrasound scanning. Biophysical profile, a test that combines the nonstress test with an ultrasound evaluation also makes clear whether the foetus is an IUGR case or not. Doppler flow, which uses sound waves to measure blood flow, also gives a reliable picture of the foetus’ condition. Babies born with IUGR will be smaller corresponding to their gestational age. Generally, a foetus with IUGR is likely to be delivered before the completion of the full pregnancy term of thirty-seven weeks.
Babies born with IUGR will be smaller, thinner and paler. They will be having dry skin and their umbilical cord will be fragile and dull looking. Some babies will look malnourished while some others will not look so. IUGR is caused when some abnormality prevents the foetus from getting adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen required for its growth. High blood pressure, severe diabetes, chronic kidney disease, anaemia etc found in the mother can result in IUGR babies. Decreased blood flow to uterus and placenta, placental abruption and placenta previa also might restrict the proper growth of the foetus. Multiple gestations like twins or triplets might also lead to IUGR to any one, or all the babies. Infections surrounding the foetal tissues is yet another cause. Birth defects like chromosomal abnormality found in the developing baby might also make a negative interference in its growth.
IUGR might commence either during the early months of pregnancy or during the later stages. Early-onset of IUGR is mainly due to chromosomal abnormalities, maternal disorders, and placental problems where as late-IUGR onset is usually due to other reasons.