What It Means to Be Small
Being small for gestational age has several names. Each of these names has a slightly different implication, but generally means the same thing: the infant is smaller than was expected.
Some of these other names are:
- Intrauterine growth retardation
- Small for dates
- Light for dates
There are many causes of being SGA, and your baby's doctor should make at least a cursory search for an explanation. This is important because some problems cause reduced growth in childhood.
A partial list of factors contributing to being SGA includes:
Maternal environment and condition:
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Maternal drug use
- Maternal malnutrition
- Low maternal weight gain (less than 20 pounds)
- Mother was also SGA
- Maternal chronic disease (advanced diabetes, anemia, etc.)
- Living at high elevations (for example, Denver, Colorado)
- Frequent, heavy physical work during pregnancy
- Maternal age (less than 20 years)
- Racial and ethnic background
- Multiple fetuses
- Rubella, cytomegalovirus, and other infections
- Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine wall)
- Chromosome disorders
- Metabolic problems
- Fetal infections
SGA Babies' Outcome
These infants have more problems in the newborn period such as low blood sugar and too many red blood cells. SGA babies also have a higher risk than AGA infants for being small throughout life and for having delayed development.
Catch-up growth usually occurs in the first six months of age. The later in pregnancy that the fetus' growth slowed down, the more likely that catch-up growth will be complete.