A fetus that does not grow or in medical language is called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), is a condition that is characterized by the fetus not growing properly during pregnancy. What causes the fetus to not develop well?
Not all fetuses can develop properly in the womb. Not a few cases the fetus is slow to develop and even end in miscarriage. If you have ever experienced it, it might be caused by various conditions which are explained below.
Cause the Fetus Is Not growing
Fetus not growing in the mother’s womb can be caused by lifestyle to a variety of certain conditions, including:
1. Bad Lifestyle Habits
Lifestyle by pregnant women has an impact on fetal growth. The results of research reported by beingtheparent.com show that maternal habits, such as lack of food intake, abuse of drugs, smoking, drinking alcohol, and not taking folic acid supplements can increase the likelihood of a fetus not growing properly.
When the fetus is exposed to infections transmitted from the mother such as syphilis (sexually transmitted bacterial infection), cytomegalovirus (a viral infection that has a significant impact when the body’s immune system decreases during pregnancy), toxoplasmosis (parasitic infection transmitted through undercooked meat that causes damage to the fetus) and rubella, which are likely to cause the fetus to not develop.
If you like to eat meat, process it properly because the fetus is not growing food. When cooking meat, make sure the meat is really cook.
Do you know why blood pressure is routinely checked during pregnancy checks? The reason is an increase in blood pressure can be a major indication of pre-eclampsia, which is often called pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH).
Pre-eclampsia can cause blood vessels to constrict. This condition will affect the growth of the fetus due to obstruction of blood flow to the placenta. A fetus that lacks oxygen supply and a lack of supplements causes the fetus will not grow.
4. Placental Insufficiency
The placenta is an important organ in the uterus that functions to supply nutrients and oxygen so that the fetus develops properly. If the placenta is insufficient and develops imperfectly, the fetus cannot grow properly and there is a high likelihood of complications. Placental insufficiency can occur because the mother has diabetes, anemia, has used drugs, and smoked.
6. Chromosomal Abnormalities
When sperm meet the ovum, fertilization occurs and the fusion of chromosomes takes place. If there are too few or too many chromosomes formed in the embryo, disturbances can occu and the risk of miscarriage is huge.
7. Lack of Amniotic Water
The optimal amount of amniotic water is needed for fetal development. Amniotic fluid can be reduced below normal or called oligohydramnios. This can happen for various reasons such as drugs taken by the mother, maternal health conditions, placental abruption, slightly broken amniotic sacs, and so on. These conditions can cause the unborn baby will not grow.
8. Cord abnormalities
The umbilical cord is shaped like a long tube that connects the fetus to the mother’s placenta which supplies oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s body to the fetus. The navel line usually contains two navel arteries and one navel vein, which supplies blood between the placenta and the fetus. Sometimes, the umbilical cord only has one artery and causes the baby to not develop in the fetus.
9. Blighted Ovum
Blighted ovum occurs when an egg is fertilized in the uterus but does not develop into an embryo. This condition is also referred to as anembryonic pregnancy (without embryos) and this condition is the cause of the baby not growing early or even miscarriage. Often these events are too early and don’t even know that you are pregnant.
Blighted ovum causes about one of two miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy. Miscarriages occur when pregnancy ends on its own within the first 20 weeks.
10. Other Causes
Some other factors that cause the fetus to have difficulty growing properly are:
- Advanced diabetes
- High blood pressure or heart disease
- Infections such as rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and syphilis
- Kidney disease or lung disease
- Malnutrition or anemia
What to Do
- Although IUGR can occur even when the mother’s condition is very healthy, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of IUGR and increase the chance of pregnancy and conceive a healthy baby.
- Schedule a prenatal appointment with an obstetrician. Detecting potential problems early allows the expectant mother to treat it early.
- Be aware of the baby’s movements in the womb. Infants who don’t move often or stop moving may have problems. If you notice changes in your baby’s movements, contact your doctor.
- Check the medicine that is being consumed. Sometimes drugs taken by the mother for other health problems can cause problems in the fetus.
- Eat healthy food. Healthy food and enough calories help maintain baby’s nutrition. As explained earlier, you also need to avoid foods that cause the fetus to not develop, such as cooking undercooked meat.
- Enough rest. Rest will help you feel better and can even help the development of the fetus. Sleep for eight or more hours each night. Resting one or two hours during the day is also good for you and the fetus.
- Implement healthy lifestyle habits. If you are addicted to drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking, stop for the health of your fetus.
What will Happens If Fetal Growth Is Stunted?
Slow fetal growth can caused certain health problems during pregnancy, childbirth, and after birth such as:
- Babies have low birth weight.
- Difficulties in handling the pressure of vaginal delivery.
- The amount of oxygen decreases in the womb.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- Low resistance to infection.
- Low Apgar value (tests conducted immediately after birth to evaluate the physical condition of the newborn and determine special medical care).
- Meconium aspiration (inhalation of passing stool while in the womb), which can cause respiratory problems.
- Difficulty maintaining body temperature.
- The number of red blood cells is very high.
While in the most severe cases, IUGR causes the baby to be born dead. This condition can also cause long-term disruption to the baby’s growth.