Condition 101 About Intrauterine Growth Restriction

What is the definition of Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to the poor growth of a baby while in the mother's womb during pregnancy.

What are the alternative names for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

Intrauterine growth retardation; IUGR; Pregnancy - IUGR

What are the causes for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

Many different things can lead to IUGR. An unborn baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrition from the placenta during pregnancy because of:

  • High altitudes
  • Multiple pregnancy, such as twins or triplets
  • Placenta problems
  • Preeclampsia or eclampsia

Problems at birth (congenital abnormalities) or chromosome problems are often associated with below-normal weight. Infections during pregnancy can also affect the weight of the developing baby. These include:

  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Rubella
  • Syphilis
  • Toxoplasmosis

Risk factors in the mother that may contribute to IUGR include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Drug addiction
  • Clotting disorders
  • High blood pressure or heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Poor nutrition
  • Other chronic disease

If the mother is small, it may be normal for her baby to be small, but this is not due to IUGR.

Depending on the cause of IUGR, the developing baby may be small all over. Or, the baby's head may be normal size while the rest of the body is small.

What are the symptoms for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

A pregnant woman may feel that her baby is not as big as it should be. The measurement from the mother's pubic bone to the top of the uterus will be smaller than expected for the baby's gestational age. This measurement is called the uterine fundal height.

What are the current treatments for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

IUGR increases the risk that the baby will die inside the womb before birth. If your health care provider thinks you might have IUGR, you will be monitored closely. This will include regular pregnancy ultrasounds to measure the baby's growth, movements, blood flow, and fluid around the baby.

Nonstress testing will also be done. This involves listening to the baby's heart rate for a period of 20 to 30 minutes.

Depending on the results of these tests, your baby may need to be delivered early.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

After delivery, the newborn's growth and development depends on the severity and cause of IUGR. Discuss the baby's outlook with your providers.

What are the possible complications for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

IUGR increases the risk of pregnancy and newborn complications, depending on the cause. Babies whose growth is restricted often become more stressed during labor and need C-section delivery.

When should I contact a medical professional for Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

Contact your provider right away if you are pregnant and notice that the baby is moving less than usual.

After giving birth, call your provider if your infant or child does not seem to be growing or developing normally.

How do I prevent Intrauterine Growth Restriction?

Following these guidelines will help prevent IUGR:

  • Do not drink alcohol, smoke, or use recreational drugs.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Get regular prenatal care.
  • If you have a chronic medical condition or you take prescribed medicines regularly, see your provider before you get pregnant. This can help reduce risks to your pregnancy and the baby.


Baschat AA, Galan HL. Intrauterine growth restriction. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 33.

Carlo WA. The high-risk infant. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 97.

Top Global Doctors For Intrauterine Growth Restriction

John C. Kingdom
Toronto, ON, CA
Francesc Figueras
Barcelona, CT, ES
Fatima Crispi
Barcelona, CT, ES
Amir Aviram
Tel Aviv, TA, IL
Jon R. Barrett

Latest Advances On Intrauterine Growth Restriction

  • Condition: Infant Insulin Sensitivity with Intrauterine Growth Retardation
  • Journal: Zhongguo dang dai er ke za zhi = Chinese journal of contemporary pediatrics
  • Treatment Used: Breastfeeding
  • Number of Patients: 106
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using breastfeeding to treat infants with insulin sensitivity and intrauterine growth retardation.
  • Condition: Uterine Fibroids
  • Journal: International journal of hyperthermia : the official journal of European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, North American Hyperthermia Group
  • Treatment Used: Ultrasound-Guided High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation VS Laparoscopic Myomectomy
  • Number of Patients: 676
  • Published —
The purpose of the study was to compare pregnancy outcomes between ultrasound-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation and laparoscopic myomectomy for the treatment of uterine fibroids.

Clinical Trials For Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Diagnostic Test
  • Participants: 164
  • Start Date: June 1, 2021
Epidemiology and Clinico-investigative Study of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 20
  • Start Date: April 1, 2021
Cardiovascular Changes in the Infants of Mothers With Preeclampsia and Factors Associated With Neonatal Outcomes