Fetal hypotrophy

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Marie-Ange Demory
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The fetus grows little

Sometimes during pregnancy checks it may happen that the gynecologist tells you that the baby is a little smaller than the average, and asks you to repeat an ultrasound in the short term to understand if the so-called "fetal hypotrophy" or IUGR (abbreviation which means intrauterine growth retardation in English).

How is it diagnosed?

The suspicion comes for a belly that grows little in volume, ie when the uterus does not reach the average levels for the gestational period. The confirmation, however, comes from ultrasound checks that actually detect a small child on measurement and grow little between one ultrasound and another.

Read also: Retarded growth of the fetus

What are the reasons why a child stops growing or grows less than others?

There are truly innumerable causes for which growth retardation can occur. The main reason is usually a lack of oxygen e nutrients via the placenta. In these cases the problem is usually maternal, i.e. there is a pathology in the mother that does not allow the placenta to transfer sufficient oxygen to the baby (for example pre-eclampsia o gesturesi).

Even moving in the mountains above 2000 meters it can cause a reduction in oxygen to the baby, which is why it is not recommended to reach these altitudes during pregnancy. The lifestyle habits of the mother are essential to allow the development of the child, they are therefore strongly Smoking, the consumption of alcoholic beverages in large quantities, drugs and a poor and varied diet are not recommended for fear of gaining too much weight.


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Photos of vegetables and fruits to get an idea of ​​how the baby grows in 40 weeks of pregnancy

Some infectious diseases finally they can be the cause of the lack of growth: toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus and syphilis, in fact, lead the embryo to develop little and with important problems from the beginning. But be careful, before diagnosing you with intrauterine growth retardation you must evaluate your build and that of your partner.

If you are small and thin the child will presumably inherit this physical structure and therefore will simply be small, not with hypotrophy.

Calculate the weight of the fetus

What problems can hypotrophy give for the birth and growth of the child?

It all depends on how severe the stunting is and what is the cause that triggered it. Let me explain better, if the intrauterine growth retardation is not severe, there are usually no contraindications to spontaneous birth and the baby will grow without problems. If, on the other hand, the growth retardation is important, the child could get very tired in dealing with a labor, and therefore you prefer to opt for a Caesarean section. This second case is more frequent if the cause of the stunting is an infectious disease or if the mother has bad habits.

So when should I contact the gynecologist?

First of all if you see that the volume of the belly that previously grew suddenly does not increase. Also pay close attention to your baby's movements. If you feel that they are no longer the same, neither in frequency nor in intensity, go to the emergency room or contact your doctor. Once they visit, they will assess the child's well-being and growth and the amount of amniotic fluid present. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet, with all possible nutrients. Avoid excesses as well as smoking, alcohol and drugs.

If you suffer from a chronic disease for which you are taking medications (for example thyroid disease), agree on the therapy to be taken with the specialist but do not stop it alone. Finally, it is very important that you make gods checks during pregnancy. Although it is a physiological situation and not a disease, it is necessary to have at least one visit a month and three ultrasound scans within the nine months. This way you can make sure that if something is wrong, you can intervene in time and deal with the situation.

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