Intrauterine growth retardation, or IUGR, is shown in approximately 100,000 babies each year in the United States. IUGR is classified as an abnormally slow rate of fetal growth compared to what is considered average growth during gestation. A normal fetus increases in size until the skeleton is fully fused. A baby that is at or below the tenth percentile for her age, meaning that ninety percent of other fetuses of the same gestational age are bigger than her, is considered to be experiencing growth retardation. Asymmetrical growth retardation is when there is normal growth of the head, arms and legs, but poor growth of the abdomen. Symmetrical growth retardation is classified as the overall and equal slow growth of the child's head, arms, legs, and abdomen.
Growth retardation can be difficult to diagnose because a number of factors could be the cause. Usually, doctors will study the mother's medical history and health to seek the cause of IUGR. Diabetes, drug use, smoking, anemia, and nutritional deficiency have been known to cause intrauterine growth retardation. Another principal cause is believed to be the use of prescription medication, especially anticonvulsants while pregnant. A child who is exposed to pharmaceuticals in utero can experience severe and potentially life-threatening conditions. Prescription medication can interfere with the normal fetal development leading to birth defects such as growth retardation or even fetal death. Intrauterine growth retardation can occur at any of the three stages of pregnancy; the point at which the growth is interrupted will determine what is actually affected by the slowed growth.
Detection of growth retardation during pregnancy can be done in a number of ways. Normal check ups throughout pregnancy include recording weight gain and uterus size, both of which are direct indications of fetal development. The height of the uterus in centimeters should equal the number of weeks of pregnancy. If the measurements appear to be low, additional tests can be done including an ultrasound to check for growth retardation or other fetal abnormalities. Measuring levels of amniotic fluid, the grading of the placenta, and examining the umbilical cord artery and middle cerebral artery are additional ways the growth of the fetus can be determined. Assuring that fetal growth remains normal and healthy is much easier nowadays with modern ultrasound technology.
Growth retardation can have long-term effects for a child including slow cognitive development, neurological damage, a higher chance of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Birth defects such as growth retardation caused by prescription drug use during pregnancy can have devastating and life-long implications including high medical and emotional costs. Pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for damages experienced as a result of using their defective products. Injured consumers can seek legal aid from an experienced defective drug lawyer and learn about compensation and lawsuit options. Birth defect attorneys are advocates for affected children and their families and can help collect the reimbursement that they deserve.
Spread the word so women are aware of the risks for both anticonvulsant birth defects and antidepressant birth defects and so families dealing with the hardship and expenses of lifetime care can get financial help from experienced class action attorneys. Learn more about Side Effects from prescription drugs.
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RX Birth Defects is an informational website that educates consumers on birth defects that could have been caused by drugs taken by the mother while pregnant. Most drugs have the most severe effect during the first trimester of pregnancy. Anticonvulsant and Antidepressant drugs include Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Pristiq, Prozac, Zoloft, Dilantin, Depakote and Topamax. This website has no relationship with any of the aforementioned drugs or pharmaceutical companies.