Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)

Fetal growth inhibition is observed in about 10% of all pregnancies, although the vast majority of these pregnancies result in a healthy baby that is merely small for gestational age (SGA). However, in a small number of cases (about 4% of all pregnancies) the fetal growth restriction has an underlying pathologic cause and the fetus, therefore, fails to achieve its growth potential. This pathologic growth inhibition is called intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) and comprises a serious health problem. IUGR is associated with perinatal mortality and morbidity, while at the long-term it may result in type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular complications and impaired neurodevelopment. IUGR can’t be prevented at present, although it would be desirable to predict which pregnancies are at risk for IUGR as early as possible to closely monitor at risk fetuses and allow timely intervention if possible.


Risk Factors for IUGR:

  • Severe malnutrition
  • (chronic) high blood pressure
  • Smoking, alcohol and/or drug use.
  • Pre-pregnancy weight and nutritional status
  • Pre-eclampsia, (gestational) diabetes, multiple gestation
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Genetic mutations



  1. Mandruzzato G. Intrauterine restriction (IUGR) J Perinat Med. 2008;36(4):277-81 (PMID:18598115)
  2. Pallotto EK Perinatal outcome and later implications of intrauterine growth restriction. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jun;49(2):257-69. (PMID:16721105)

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