Intrauterine growth retardation: Causes, Types, Self-monitor, Prevention


Intrauterine growth retardation is one of the important complications of obstetrics. The incidence of this disease is 3% to 10%, the average incidence is about 6.4%, and its incidence is not low.

Intrauterine growth retardation refers to the limited growth and development of the fetus in the uterus, resulting in the fetus not meeting the size of the gestational age. This situation is mainly manifested in the fact that the fetal weight is lower than the normal fetus of the same gestational age, and the birth weight of the fetus after 37 weeks of gestation is less than 2500 grams.

What Is The Cause Of Intrauterine Growth Retardation


The cause of the disease is more complicated, and about 30% of the causes are still unclear. There are several reasons for the known causes of the disease.

Five main causes of intrauterine growth retardation

  1. TORCH: TORCH is an abbreviation for Toxoplasma gondii, cytomegalovirus, rubella virus, herpes simplex virus and other pathogens. There are main symptoms of intrauterine infection. This reason accounts for about 10% of all causes.
  2. fetal chromosomal abnormalities: the incidence rate is about 10%.
  3. Disease: Intrauterine growth retardation occurs in pregnant women with conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, chronic hypertension, and chronic nephritis. Because these diseases can lead to the insufficient blood supply to the placenta, causing chronic hypoxia in the fetus, affecting the normal growth and development of the fetus. Pregnant women suffering from severe anemia, cardiopulmonary disease, cholestasis, and other diseases, are also likely to affect the growth and development of the fetus.
  4. Malnutrition: Malnutrition in pregnant women, especially the lack of protein and calories, is also one of the important factors affecting fetal growth and development. Such factors account for about half of the incidence.
  5. Bad living habits: such as smoking (including passive smoking), alcoholism and drug abuse are also one of the causes of intrauterine growth retardation.

Two Types of Intrauterine Growth Retardation

The first impression of intrauterine growth retardation is that the low body weight, so many people think that it doesn’t matter if they are born small, and they will grow normally via well feeding after birth. In fact, this idea is wrong.

There are two types, one is dystrophy and the other called hypoplastic intrauterine growth retardation.

The pathogenic factors of dystrophic intrauterine growth retardation often affect the fetus in the second and third trimesters. The main reasons are such as pregnancy-induced hypertension and multiple pregnancies. This embryo development is normal in the early stages of pregnancy. It is characterized by the malnutrition of the whole body of the newborn. The weight of the newborn is significantly lower than that of the normal neonatal gestational age, while the head circumference and height are normal. This type of child can achieve normal body development through good feeding. Therefore, the prognosis of newborns is usually more optimistic.

The pathogenic factors of dysplastic intrauterine growth retardation act on the embryo in early pregnancy, causing damage to the embryo and affecting the growth and development of the fetus. For example, genetic factors and TORCH infection can cause defects such as fetal malformation. The characteristics of children with hypoplasia are that the development of the weight, length and head circumference of the newborn is well-proportioned but significantly lower than the mean value of normal newborns of the same gestational age. The incidence of congenital malformations in children with hypoplasia is high. Most have abnormalities in the number or structure of chromosomes, and some can be life-threatening. Therefore, fetal is not only had low weight, which may be deformed.


Pregnant women and their families can self-monitor fetal development by the following methods.

The simpler method is the weighing method. The weight gain of pregnant women in the third trimester is about 0.5 kg per week. If there is no obvious change in the clothes of pregnant women, the possibility of intrauterine growth retardation should be suspected if the weight gain is slow or stagnant.

Another method is the fetal development index measurement. We will provide a detailed calculation page for pregnant women to test.

If pregnant women suspect that they have symptoms of intrauterine growth retardation, they should go to the hospital for further diagnosis.

Treatment and prevention

After the diagnosis of intrauterine growth retardation, the first cause should be the cause of the disease, and the fetal examination is used to identify whether the fetus is deformed.

  1. Treatment should be based on the cause.
  2. Pregnant women are prohibited from bad habits such as tobacco and alcohol.
  3. Pregnant women should get adequate bed rest and take the left lateral position.
  4. Taking appropriate medicine via doctor advice, to relax the uterus and expand the blood vessels to improve the blood supply to the placenta.
  5. Pregnant women should be supplemented with adequate nutrition. In addition to diet, glucose solution and amino acids can be infused to promote fetal growth and development.
  6. Intermittent oxygen inhalation per day can prevent or alleviate intrauterine hypoxia.
  7. Strengthening fetal monitoring is important because the child may have intrauterine hypoxia or even death at any time in the uterus.
  8. Regular fetal heart electronic monitoring, ultra-examination, and fetal placental function testing can help to detect intrauterine hypoxia in time.
  9. About 36 weeks of gestation is the most frequent period of intrauterine growth retardation, so it is necessary to strengthen supervision during this period.


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