The Impact of Birth Weight on Baby's Growth
How does your baby measure up?
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)
Fetus’ growth potential:
- 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.
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