Small for gestational age (SGA)—Children whose birth weights are below the 10th percentile (smaller in weight than 90 percent of other infants born at the same gestational age) are considered small for gestational age (SGA). Being small for gestational age has several other names. Some of these follow:
-Intrauterine growth retardation -Small-for dates -Dysmature -Light-for dates
SGA has many causes. If your baby is SGA, your baby's doctor should search for an explanation. This is important because some problems cause reduced growth in childhood as well. The following is a partial list of factors that can contribute to an infant being SGA:
-Maternal high blood pressure -Cigarette smoking -Maternal street drug use -Maternal malnutrition -Low maternal weight gain (less than 20 pounds) -Mother was also SGA at birth -Maternal chronic disease (advanced diabetes, anemia, etc.) -Mother younger than 20 years of age -Racial and ethnic background -Multiple fetuses (twins, triplets) -Rubella, cytomegalovirus, and other infections during pregnanc -Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine wall) - Fetal chromosome problems (Children with abnormal chromosomes seem genetically programmed to remain small and not gain weight appropriately.)
SGA babies have more problems in the newborn period than infants who are appropriately grown. Examples of these problems are low blood sugar and too many red blood cells in the blood. These problems are all treatable, but may require intensive care. SGA babies are also more likely than AGA (appropriate for gestational age) infants to be small throughout life and have delayed development. Babies whose growth slowed down later in pregnancy are more likely to catch up with their peers than those whose growth was slow throughout pregnancy.