Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Nationwide Cerebral Palsy Resource Network

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) occurs when the womb has not grown to a size necessary to accommodate a growing child. If left without early and skilled medical intervention, IUGR could threaten the life of a mother and her unborn child.

If you or your baby suffered harm due to the mismanagement of uterine complications at birth, please call Stern Law, PLLC for a free review of your legal options. Call (800)462-5772 today.

What is IUGR?

In general, there are two types of IUGR, such as:

  • Symmetric primary IUGR – This is characterized by a child’s internal organs being significantly reduced in size due to the condition. This accounts for about 20% to 25% of all IUGR cases in the U.S.;
  • Asymmetric secondary IUGR – This refers to a situation in which a child is born with a normal sized head and brain but has an abdomen that is much smaller than it should be. This does not usually become evident until a woman’s third trimester.

What are the signs and symptoms of IUGR?

The signs and symptoms associated with IUGR are as follows:

  • Fundal height that does not properly correspond with the gestational age of the unborn child;
  • Ultrasound measurements of the child demonstrate that he or she is smaller than normal at his or her gestational age;
  • Low birth weight (typically children who suffer from IUGR are below the 10th percentile, or less than 90% of children bearing the same gestational age);
  • Low resistance to infection;
  • Low Apgar score (child may be born pale, limp, and have very dry and loose skin);
  • An umbilical cord that appears to be thin and dull rather than thick and shiny.

Risks of IUGR

Regardless of the type of IUGR present, there are a number of complications associated with the condition, as follows:

  • Cesarean delivery – IUGR often requires that a mother submit to a cesarean in order to immediately deliver a child who is experiencing distress of complications as a result of IUGR;
  • Oxygen deprivation – Whether hypoxia or apoxia, oxygen deprivation may result in a multitude of different complications and injuries, including CP, mental retardation, seizure disorders, developmental delay, serious brain damage, etc.;
  • Meconium/meconium aspiration – This occurs when a child swallows part of its first bowel movement while still in the womb. This can cause the child to aspirate as well as develop a serious infection;
  • Hypoglycemia – This refers to a situation in which a child experiences low blood sugar levels;
  • Polycythemia – A dangerous increase in the development of red blood cells.

How is IUGR treated?

The treatment options for IUGR are:

  • If a child is at or beyond 34 weeks gestation, a doctor may recommend inducing labor;
  • If a child is below 34 weeks, continuous monitoring may be necessary;
  • Regular and more frequent pre-natal visits;
  • Immediate delivery;
  • Amniocentesis may be required to evaluate lung maturity before labor induction (to be sure the child can breathe on its own at birth).

Stern Law, PLLC is devoted to educating families about their rights and guiding them through the often intimidating journey of birth injury litigation. To begin building your case, please call us free of charge at (800)462-5772.