Slow fetal growth is also known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which refers to a condition signifying the slow growth of a baby during pregnancy. Even after taking proper care, your fetus may grow slowly. In this case, the baby is smaller than the average size at that stage of your pregnancy. Here’s what you should know about slow fetal growth:
Types of Intrauterine Growth Restrictions
There are mainly two types of intrauterine growth restrictions occurring during pregnancy.
- Symmetrical or primary IUGR: The baby has a symmetrical body in proportion with the internal organs, but is smaller than the size of a normal baby at that age.
- Asymmetrical or secondary IUGR: The baby has a normal head and brain, but a smaller body for that gestational age. This is usually not evident until the third trimester.
Causes of Slow Fetal Growth
Various factors such as maternal, fetal and placental can be the reason behind slow fetal growth. These are some of the issues that can cause IUGR:
- Preeclampsia: Increase in blood pressure can compress the veins, which restrict the flow of blood to the placenta. This cuts down the supply of oxygen and supplements to the fetus, leading to slow fetal growth.
- Multiple Pregnancies: In certain cases of multiple pregnancies, slow fetal development is caused due to the inefficiency of the placenta to meet the nutritional demands of multiple babies.
- Infections: Any infection transferred from the mother during pregnancy can lead to slow fetal growth.
- Low level of amniotic fluid: Less than sufficient amniotic fluid in the sac can lead to fetal growth restrictions.
Your doctor will measure the fetal growth regularly during your check-ups in order to take timely action in case the growth is slow.
The fetal size can be estimated by measuring the fundal height. However, other procedures can also be used. These include:
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the baby’s structure, and also measures its head and abdomen.
- Doppler flow: This technique is used to measure the speed and amount of blood flow into the blood vessels of the fetal brain and the umbilical cord, using sound waves.
- Weight check: This also helps to estimate the fetal growth. Doctors will check and record the mother’s weight during prenatal visits. If the weight gain is not appropriate, it may indicate slow fetal growth.
Slow fetal growth can be managed through regular checkups and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Ways to Prevent Slow Fetal Growth
You can reduce the risk of IUGR in the following ways:
- Eat healthy foods that provide the right nourishment to your baby.
- Limit your caffeine intake.
- Check with your doctor about medications that you are taking that can cause IUGR.
- Get enough rest and keep stress at bay.
- Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every day.
- Stay fit by exercising.
You may not always be in control of slow fetal growth. However, certain things and lifestyle habits can help prevent IUGR. Our doctors at KIMS Cuddles can help you follow the right treatment to ensure your baby is growing well.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.