Intrauterine growth restriction is diagnosed at an ultrasound examination where the measurements of the fetus are smaller than what is expected at that period of gestation. The baby's growth may slow down or stop while the baby is still in the uterus.
If the baby is diagnosed to be growth restricted, it is important to try and find out the cause for growth restriction. If the baby is symmetrically small, it is more likely to be an inherent problem with the baby like a chromosomal abnormality or a structural defect or congenital infections.
On the other hand, a baby with asymmetrical growth restriction (abdominal circumference affected much more than the head circumference) fails to achieve optimal grow due to inefficient placental perfusion.
In either case, close monitoring of the fetus with frequent ultrasound examination to assess amniotic fluid volume and blood flows, is important. The timing of delivery depends on the findings of the ultrasound examination.
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