What is IUGR?
IUGR stands for intrauterine growth retardation. This means that your baby is growing slowly and doesn’t weigh as much as your doctor expected for this stage of pregnancy. If your unborn baby weighs less than most babies at this stage, your baby might have IUGR. IUGR is also used to describe a baby who weighs less at birth than most babies at the same stage. For babies who are born near their due date (meaning, they aren’t premature), the dangerous weight is anything less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
Your doctor might suspect IUGR if he or she thinks your baby is growing slightly less than would be expected. IUGR is usually diagnosed during an ultrasound examination. Doctors most often find it during the 6th, the 7th or the 8th months of pregnancy.
It’s important to know that IUGR only means slowed growing. These small babies aren’t mentally slow or retarded. Most small babies grow up to be healthy children and adults.
Why is my baby small?
Doctors know many of the causes of IUGR but are only able to be sure about the cause in about one half of babies who have IUGR. The most common reasons for a baby to be small are the following:
1. The mother smoked cigarettes during pregnancy.
2. The mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.
3. The mother had high blood pressure during pregnancy.
4. The mother had infections during pregnancy.
5. The baby has chromosomal abnormalities (like Down syndrome).
6. The mother used certain medicines during pregnancy.
7. The mother is small (less than 5 feet tall or weighing less than 110 pounds).