What Is an IUGR and How Does it Happen?

There are some babies that are born smaller than usual. While this type of baby growth can normally run in families as a result of genetics, there are other babies who suffer from a condition that delays their growth. 

Called Intrauterine Growth Restriction, or IUGR, this condition can sometimes cause delayed growth in infants. This may be a cause of concern for parents, especially as the primary carrier of the baby itself. 

If your doctor suspects that your unborn child is growing less than what he or she expected, below is some information that might help you learn more about IUGR and how you can prevent this from further happening. Read on to learn more.

What Is an IUGR and How Does it Happen?


IUGR – What Is this Pregnancy Condition?

IUGR stands for Intrauterine Growth Restriction. This is a type of condition where an unborn child is usually growing less than the normal rate while inside the uterus. 

This condition can also describe infants who have a much lower weight range at birth. The dangerous weight for babies is less than 5 pounds or 8 ounces. 

IUGR is often detected during an ultrasound examination, with most doctors and medical professionals only identifying the signs and symptoms around the 6th, 7th, and 8th months of pregnancy. 

How IUGR Affects Baby Growth

Delayed growth or slowed growth in babies while in utero does not mean that they will grow up mentally challenged. Most of these smaller babies can still grow into healthy children with normal mental functioning. 

While this condition does not affect the child’s growth and recovery, delayed growth in pregnancy can present a number of complications not only for the baby but also for the mother itself. Below are some health risks it poses during pregnancy, during delivery, and after giving birth.

There can be a difficulty in handling the stresses that come with vaginal childbirth or delivery, decreased levels of oxygen, lower blood sugar, or an increased likelihood of getting infections.

The occurrence of breathing problems as a result of inhaling stools while in utero (Meconium aspiration) is also a risk factor.

Causes of Intrauterine Growth Restriction

IUGR has numerous causes. Often, however, this can happen when a fetus does not get enough nutrients and nourishment in the body due to complications in the placenta or the overall blood flow coming from the umbilical cord. 

Other causes of this health risk are: smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, high blood pressure or heart disease, exposure to infections, such as German measles or rubella, syphilis, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis, having kidney disease or lung disease.

Medical conditions, such as anemia, blood clotting problems, or lupus could also be causes; taking certain medications, or chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, such as Down syndrome.

Birth defects, such as heart conditions in the baby, or having a twin or being a triplet are also possible causes of IUGR.

Ways to Prevent IUGR

What Is an IUGR and How Does it Happen?


As mentioned, Intrauterine Growth Restriction can only be discovered upon conducting an ultrasound. At times, a Doppler flow or fetal monitoring test may also be conducted. 

Some of the main symptoms of delayed growth in a low birth weight upon delivery, as well as a relatively low blood sugar level. Infants suffering from this may also experience difficulties in maintaining stable body temperature. 

To prevent this from happening, immediately stop smoking, consuming drugs, and ingesting alcohol. These abusive substances prevent your baby from getting nutrition as they directly affect the placenta, also known as the baby’s main food source.

Maintain a nutritious diet. Health food and the right servings and calories will allow you to help provide the proper nourishment for your child. Attend all your prenatal appointments. This allows your doctor to detect warning signs early on.

The Bottom Line

If you’re worried about your child’s development, this guide can help you take the necessary steps to ensure the growth and health of your baby. So, keep this information in mind when dealing with IUGR