Fetal Growth Restriction

Fetal Growth Restriction

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;
    • diabetes;
    • 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;
    • infections;
    • 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.
All of the tests and monitoring provide information about whether it is safe to continue with the pregnancy or whether a baby should be born early. It is important that risk factors for fetal growth restriction are detected early, that optimal treatment is provided, and that the pregnant woman is fully informed of the risks and has the opportunity to provide informed consent for the treatment plan.

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CP Smile Project

The CP Smile Project is a community project that helps ensure children with cerebral palsy have access to recreational opportunities that allow them to engage in play and community involvement. We give monthly bursaries to families to help them provide the support needed for their child to engage in play and have fun.