Fetal growth restriction is the term used to describe where a baby does not grow as expected in the womb. It is also referred to as intrauterine growth restriction. A health care provider can assess fetal growth with ultrasound scanning. During an ultrasound scan, measurements are taken of parts of the unborn baby’s body and an estimated weight is calculated for the baby. This weight is then compared to the measurements of all babies for that stage of pregnancy.
Not all babies grow at the same rate in the womb, but where a baby has an estimated weight that is less than 9 out of 10 babies, or less than the 10th percentile, a baby will be described as having fetal growth restriction.
Fetal growth restriction is caused by a baby not receiving enough oxygen and essential nutrients during pregnancy. This can be related to:
- Factors related to the pregnant woman including:
- high blood pressure;
- heart disease;
- severe lung conditions;
- particular medications;
- cigarette smoking; and
- infections such as cytomegalovirus or rubella.
- Factors related to the unborn baby including:
- physical or chromosomal abnormalities;
- if a baby is one of twins, triplets or other multiple birth pregnancies.
- Factors related to the placenta or the womb (uterus) including:
- the placenta being small;
- having abnormal blood flow;
- if the umbilical cord inserts abnormally into the placenta;
- if the placenta has partially come away from the womb (placental abruption);
- if there are benign masses in the placenta; or
- if the uterus is not a typical shape.
How can we help?
If you have questions or if you are looking for community support - please contact us for free and confidential information
Understanding Birth Injuries
- Labour and delivery