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Intrauterine Growth Retardation


Overview :

There are standards or averages in weight for unborn babies according their age in weeks. When the baby's weight is at or below the 10th percentile for his or her age, it is called intrauterine growth retardation or fetal growth restriction. These babies are smaller than they should be for their age. How much a baby weighs at birth depends not only on how many weeks old it is, but the rate at which it has grown. This growth process is complex and delicate. There are three phases associated with the development of the baby. During the first phase, cells multiply in the baby's organs. This occurs from the beginning of development through the early part of the fourth month. During the second phase, cells continue to multiply and the organs grow. In the third phase (after 32 weeks of development), growth occurs quickly and the baby may gain as much as 7 ounces per week. If the delicate process of development and weight gain is disturbed or interrupted, the baby can suffer from restricted growth.

IUGR is usually classified as symmetrical or asymmetrical. In symmetrical IUGR, the baby's head and body are proportionately small. In asymmetrical IUGR, the baby's brain is abnormally large when compared to the liver. In a normal infant, the brain weighs about three times more than the liver. In asymmetrical IUGR, the brain can weigh five or six times more than the liver.




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