What is fetal growth restriction?
Yes, fetal growth restriction (FGR) is the same as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
The term IUGR is now replaced by FGR; however, they are the same.
- It is a condition in which an unborn baby (fetus) is smaller in size than expected for the number of weeks of pregnancy (gestational age).
- To be specific, the estimated weight of the fetus is less than the 10th percentile. Also referred to as “small for gestational age,” it means that the baby weighs less than 90 percent of babies of the same gestational age.
What causes FGR?
Many factors can increase the risk for fetal growth restriction (FGR). These include problems with the placenta or umbilical cord and certain factors in the mother and baby. The placenta is the organ that is formed during the pregnancy, and it carries oxygen and nutrients to the baby. There may be problems with the attachment of the placenta to the uterus or restricted blood flow through the umbilical cord.
Factors in the mother that can cause FGR to include:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Anemia (low red blood cells count)
- Lung disease
- Kidney disease
- Autoimmune conditions, such as lupus
- Very low weight or excess weight
- Poor nutrition
- Alcohol or drug use
- Cigarette smoking
- Living at an altitude above 5,000 feet
Factors in the baby that can cause FGR to include:
- Multiple gestations (being one of the twins, triplets, or more)
- Congenital problems or birth defects (such as heart defects)
- Problem with genes or chromosomes
How is FGR diagnosed?
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is diagnosed during regular prenatal checkups.
The simplest way for the doctor to find is by checking the fundal height. To check fundal height, the healthcare provider measures from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (fundus). Fundal height is measured in centimeters. After the 20th week, it is about the same as the number of weeks of pregnancy.
To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order diagnostic tests that include:
- Fetal ultrasound: To estimate fetal weight, an ultrasound procedure uses sound waves that create images of the baby in the womb.
- Doppler ultrasound: A special type of ultrasound to check the blood flow to the placenta and through the umbilical cord to the baby.
- Fetal monitoring: Monitoring devices strapped over the uterus to record the baby’s heartbeat.
- Amniocentesis: Drawing amniotic fluid from the womb to check for any infections or genetic abnormalities.
- FDA Panel Backs RSV Vaccine for Infants, Some Toddlers
- Seniors: Stay Social, Active for 'Optimal Aging,' Study Shows
- Diabetes Med Metformin Might Help Prevent Long COVID
- Disability a Growing Concern for U.S. Cancer Survivors
- Smoke From Wildfires Is Especially Tough If You Have Asthma. Here’s How to Protect Yourself
- More Health News »
How is FGR treated?
Your doctor will treat fetal growth restriction (FGR) depending on the underlying cause and its severity, which is estimated from the diagnostic tests.
First, you will be asked to have frequent prenatal visits, ultrasound, and Doppler ultrasound exams, and other tests, if needed.
- If maternal conditions, such as high blood pressure is responsible for FGR, your doctor will treat you to lower the blood pressure.
- If infections are causing the condition, appropriate medications may be administered to treat them.
Your doctor may ask you to keep track of fetal movements. If you find a decrease in the movements, you need to contact the doctor right away.
You may have early delivery or emergency cesarean to avoid complications in the baby after the delivery.
How can FGR be prevented?
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) can occur in any pregnancy. However, you can lower your chances of developing it by avoiding cigarette smoking, alcohol, or recreational drug use. Having regular and early prenatal care, following a healthy diet, managing blood pressure, and appropriate weight gain can help prevent FGR.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ross MG. Fetal Growth Restriction. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/261226-overview
Top Is FGR the Same as IUGR Related Articles
4 Common Discomforts of PregnancyPregnancy comes with huge hormonal changes that can cause discomfort, including morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and headaches. Learn what causes these symptoms and how you can cope with them.
Constipation During Pregnancy: Can Not Pooping Hurt the Baby?Although the pressure buildup from constipation during pregnancy may feel harmful, it is very unlikely to hurt your baby.
Pregnancy Discomforts: Common CausesDuring pregnancy, most women will experience discomforts during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters. Common causes of discomforts during pregnancy include nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), fatigue, breast swelling and pain, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, mood swings, dizziness, migraines, tooth pain and bleeding gums, and pica. Common causes of pregnancy discomforts include constipation, heartburn, indigestion, reflux, varicose veins, abdominal pain, problems sleeping, congested or bloody nose, and flu like body aches.
Exercise & PregnancyPregnancy exercises and workouts for moms-to-be include Kegel exercises and prenatal yoga. A prenatal workout is an important part of healthy living. Try these safe exercises for pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)Consuming alcohol during pregnancy may cause fetal alcohol syndrome, a group of conditions associated with mental, growth, and physical problems. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome may have a small head, short stature, low IQ, and abnormal facial features. Early intervention programs can lessen the impact of motor, cognitive, and language impairments.
What Foods Should Be Avoided During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?The first trimester is the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Foods to avoid during the third trimester of pregnancy include raw or undercooked seafood; seafood containing mercury; raw or undercooked eggs; unpasteurized milk or other dairy products; raw sprouts and unwashed vegetables and fruits.
How Is a Fetal Scalp Electrode Attached?Fetal scalp electrodes may be attached only after the neck of the womb has dilated to at least 2 cm, and the amniotic sac (the bag of water around the fetus) has ruptured. A sensor is usually strapped to the mother’s thigh. A thin wire (electrode) from the sensor is put through the womb (uterus).
Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and MoreMultiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization using fertility drugs. Women carrying multiples often give birth via C-section.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts QuizBeing pregnant is a delicate time for both mother and baby. Take this pregnancy myths and facts quiz to separate the myths and facts about being pregnant, and learn the truth behind healthy pregnancies!
What Foods Should I Eat During My First Trimester of Pregnancy?What to know about diet during the first trimester. Learn more about how to protect and fuel your body and baby during this exciting time.
Smoking During PregnancySmoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth and more. Secondhand smoke also increases your baby's risk of developing lung cancer, heart diseases, emphysema, asthma, allergies and SIDS.
Stages of Pregnancy: Week by WeekSee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Pregnancy: 7 Common Third Trimester TestsTesting is often recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy. These tests are designed to ensure the health and safety of both the child and mother. Common tests during the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy include:
- group B streptococcus screening,
- electronic fetal heart monitoring,
- nonstress test,
- contraction stress test, and
- a biophysical profile.
What Are Signs of Fetal Distress?During pregnancy, fetal stress or fetal distress is a sign that your baby isn’t well in your womb. The major sign of pregnancy fetal stress is abnormal fetal heart rate.
When Should You Be Worried About Fetal Movement?During your third trimester, you should be able to feel about 10 fetal movements within 2 hours. Paying attention to the patterns of your baby’s movements will help you notice if there’s a change in frequency.