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Intrauterine Growth Retardation (Failure to Grow Normally Before Birth)

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intrauterine growth retardation gluten free

The twin on the right is much small than his brother on the left who has normal growth.

What Is Intrauterine Growth Retardation?

Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is a fetal development abnormality characterized by failure to grow normally for gestational period. Specifically, it means the developing baby weighs less than 90% of other babies at the same age.

Intrauterine growth retardation puts the baby at increased risk for complications such as premature birth or that the baby will die inside the womb before birth.1

Intrauterine growth restriction  may be suspected if the size of the pregnant woman’s uterus is small. The condition is usually confirmed by ultrasound. Further tests may be needed to screen for infection or genetic problems if intrauterine growth retardation is suspected.

Q: Why would a baby not grow normally during pregnancy? A: An unborn baby cannot grow normally  if it does not obtain adequate oxygen and nutrition delivered through the placenta from the mother. Factors that impede adequate delivery of nutrition include:

  • Poor placenta placement. Conditions that limit or interfere with space for nutrient and oxygen absorption between the placenta and the uterine wall include 1) low attachment of the placenta near or over the cervix where maternal blood supply is poor, 2) pulling away or bleeding between the placenta and uterine wall, 3) multiple placentas (from multiple babies) sharing the uterine wall may limit blood supply to one or more of the fetuses, and 4) the presence of an hydatid mole,  (non-fertilized egg growing wildly), tumor or fibroids taking up space or growing under or into the placenta. 
  • Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. Conditions such as trisomy 22  have early onset  of  intrauterine growth retardation  in pregnancy. 
  • Poor health of the mother. These factors include 1) anemia which impairs the ability of the mother’s blood to deliver adequate oxygen, 2) preeclampsia which interferes with placenta function, 3) diabetes which impairs proper supply of energy, 4) kidney disease, 5) poor diet, 6) malabsorption, 7) high blood pressure or heart disease, 8) clotting disorders, and 9) toxins and infections during pregnancy that may harm the developing baby such as rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and syphilis. 
  • Risk factors in the mother. Any of the following may contribute to intrauterine growth retardation:1
    • Alcohol abuse.
    • Drug addiction.
    • Smoking.

What Is Intrauterine Growth Retardation In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001500.htm [] []