Ever wondered why doctors keep a pregnant women’s body weight in close examination? This is done to ensure whether your baby is developing in the right manner. The poor growth of the fetus inside the mother’s womb is known as Intrauterine Growth Restriction.
Intrauterine Growth Restriction
Not all pregnancies turn out to be normal and good going. Some pregnancies have certain drawbacks or some minor issues. One such issue is the slow growth of the baby. The slow growth of baby is also known as the intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). In this condition, the baby is growing slowly than normal during a pregnancy.
If an ultrasound indicates that the baby’s weight is lower than the 10th percentile for gestational age you can be sure of slow growth. A baby’s growth and weight are important. Small babies are more likely to have problems near the time of birth and after delivery. These babies who grow slowly in the womb are at risk of death or illness. If growth restriction is severe, they are to be delivered at the earliest. This results in premature birth.
Causes for Slow Growth
There can be many reasons for a baby to appear small in the womb. It can be because one of the parents has lesser growth. There can also be a possibility that a baby small inside the womb can be born with normal size.
Lack of Nourishment from Placenta
The placenta is tissue inside the uterus that is attached to the baby by the umbilical cord. From this placenta the baby gets the required oxygen and food through the mother’s blood. When the placenta does not provide enough nourishment to the growing baby the development and growth slows down. This is because oxygen and nutrients does not reach the baby
Baby With birth defect
During the initial stages of mitosis and meiosis the complete baby with proper cell arrangement will be developed. Faulty development in these stages can lead to development of baby with heart or kidney problem, or a genetic problem.
High Blood pressure during pregnancy
The variations in the blood pressure can also be one of the causes why the baby has not gained the required growth milestone
Variation in Amniotic Fluid
Too much or too little amniotic fluid in the birth sac can also cause problems. The baby is protected by the amniotic sac and this helps him/her grow
Infections and exposure to chemicals
High doses of chemical radiations and exposure to chemicals during pregnancy will directly affect baby’s growth
If in the family there are people not full grown, there are chances that the baby can inherit such medical conditions
Capacity of uterus
It is within the uterus that the fetus develops during gestation. When the uterus does not have the capacity to hold the baby, baby’s growth deteriorates
Delayed Growth Due To the Conditions of Mother
All bad habits of the mother directly affect the baby. There is other factors in which a mother is responsible for the slowed growth of the baby.
Drinker and Smoker
If a pregnant woman is a smoker or consumes alcohol, this will directly affect the growth and also there are chances of SIDS. Consumption of certain illegal drugs and certain medicines will lead to other medical problems including low birth weight and development.
Having a proper healthy diet is also very important. Lack of nourishment and nutrition directly affects the growth of the baby. The mother should have a proper diet filled with proteins and other nutrients. She should make sure she gets enough folic acid. If at all there are multiple births like twins and triplets, the babies do not get complete nourishment since it will be shared among the womb.
Also if a mother is a teenager and is underweight then there are chances of giving birth to small babies.
Overweight also seems to have an impact on the child’s growth and development. This mainly occurs in the initial stages of pregnancy. Babies born to obese mothers gain less weight, they grow less in length and gain less fat mass compared to those born to normal weight mothers. This is because the baby is not getting the right amount of nutrients and we feel the baby is getting enough.
This requires special care and attention, whether developed before or after conception. It is regularly monitored. This leads to premature births. The placenta does not get enough blood. This affects the growth of the baby.
Diagnosis of Slow Growth of Baby
Sometimes the uterus is smaller because you are in your early stages of pregnancy. By measuring the size of the uterus, the healthcare provider can examine the growth in initial stages. But the best method to check how a baby is growing is to have an ultrasound scan to estimate the size of the baby.
The tests of the amniotic fluid can also show if there are any genetic problems, infections and other conditions that are slowing the process of growth in babies. Also to check whether your baby’s growth is sufficient, the doctor might do some blood tests or other test to see whether there are any genetic problems, infection or other medical conditions.
Treatment for Slow Growth in Babies
There are many ways to estimate the size of the baby during pregnancy. The easiest way is to measure the mother’s fundus to the pubic bone. The measure in centimeters normally corresponds with the number of weeks of pregnancy. A lower than expected growth rate enables one to understand that the baby has a slow growth. The following are the ways to diagnose Intrauterine Growth Restriction:
It is a technique that uses sound waves to measure the amount and speed of blood flow through the blood vessels. This can also help detecting the flow of blood in the umbilical cord and vessels in the baby’s brain.
Checking the weight
At every prenatal check up the doctors monitor the weight of the mother periodically. Weight gain in the mother can be used to measure the growth of the unborn baby.
This is the main test for checking baby’s growth in the uterus. Doctors use an instrument on the mother’s abdomen to see the baby in the uterus.
When the mother is detected with Intrauterine Growth Restriction she will be suggested rest and will be asked to stay in the bed more often. A dietician will suggest the proper and balanced nourishing diet that needs to be followed for better improvement.
Early and regular prenatal visits with your healthcare provider allow this problem to be found early. Then you and your baby can be carefully monitored throughout the stages of your pregnancy. Follow the instructions from your healthcare provider and also have good control over the things like diet, rest and exercise.
The best way to manage this is to see how early the problem began in the pregnancy. The earlier it begins the more severe it is to the unborn baby. The fetus needs to be monitored very carefully. You cannot reverse intrauterine growth restriction but you can minimize the effects by:
- Having nutritional diet
- Proper bed rest so that it will improve circulation to the fetus
- Allowance for early delivery since the baby’s health is at risk inside the
Prevention of Slow Growth in Babies
Even though this occurs even when the mother is healthy, there are ways in which it can be prevented, they are:
- Get the babies treated at the earliest without any delay.
- Keep a track of your baby’s movements. If your baby does not move much they may have a problem
- Eat proper nutritional food and keep your baby well nourished
- Sleep for at least 8 hours every night
- Practice healthy lifestyles. Avoid anything that will disrupt your baby’s health or growth
- Keep a track of all your medications. Sometimes a medication the mother is taking for some other problem may affect the baby
- If you have had a previous pregnancy with a small baby or preeclampsia (high blood pressure), talk to your healthcare provider to see if there are ways to lower the chances of having a small baby or high blood pressure again
Take much care of your health which will directly affect the baby’s growth. Make sure you are getting proper and regular checkups. When it’s time for your baby to be delivered, your provider may start your labor by giving you medicine. If labor might be too stressful and risky for your baby, the baby may be delivered by C-section. If your baby needs to be delivered early, your healthcare provider may give you a steroid shot to help your baby’s lungs develop. This will help your baby breathe better after birth.