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Golisano Children's Hospital / Neonatology / Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Your baby has been diagnosed as having intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a less than expected rate of growth while a fetus. Sometimes when the uterine environment is not ideal (due to maternal illness, problems with the placenta, or other factors), a baby doesn’t grow as rapidly as expected.

Below are some problems that may be associated with IUGR and some of the actions we will take to prevent possible complications:

  • Perinatal Asphyxia (low oxygen levels that can occur, before, during, or after delivery). We will follow your baby’s oxygen levels by using monitors and doing blood tests. Your baby may need extra oxygen or the help of a ventilator to assist with breathing.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Babies who are small may have low blood sugar and fat stores. We will follow this with blood tests. Your baby may need IV fluids in addition to, or instead of, feedings to help maintain his/her blood sugar.
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature). IUGR babies have decreased fat stores for both energy and insulation and may need an isolette to help them stay warm. We may need to limit the time your baby is being held outside the isolette.
  • Polycythemia (high red blood cell count). IUGR babies often have any increased number of red blood cells. This may make the blood “thick” and affect how easily the blood flows in small blood vessels. We will check your baby’s hematocrit (a measure of red blood cells). If it is too high, your baby may need IV fluids or a partial exchange transfusion to help correct this.
  • Feeding problems. Some IUGR babies have problems tolerating their feedings. They may also need tube feedings until they are strong enough to take a bottle or breast feed every time.
  • Congenital Malformations and/or Congenital Viral Infections. IUGR babies may have been born to mothers who had a viral infection during pregnancy. The illness may have been so mild that the mother was not even aware of it. Sometimes IUGR is associated with chromosomal abnormalities. We may do blood tests on blood from the umbilical cord, from you, or from your baby to diagnose one of these conditions.
  • Length of Stay in the Hospital. The length of your baby’s stay in the NICU will depend on how quickly he/she resolves any of these problems. Before discharge, your baby will have to take all feedings by mouth (bottle or breast), be growing steadily (usually ½ ounce to one ounce per day) and be able to stay warm in an open crib.