Optimal fetal growth resulting in a 'normally grown' term infant is of paramount importance for assuring a healthy start for postnatal growth and development. Fetal, infant and childhood growth restriction is an important clinical problem for obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians and globally, for public health. Worldwide, an estimated 20 million infants are born with low birthweight and a substantial proportion are small for gestational age. Many advances have been made in defining growth restriction by prenatal techniques, thus allowing the recognition of intrauterine growth restriction. Distinguishing infants who are small but have appropriate growth potential from those with growth restriction is important in order to apply obstetric surveillance, anticipate neonatal problems and plan for postneonatal guidance. It is clear that the fetus in growth-restricted pregnancies has limited supply of nutrients and oxygen. The resultant changes, if involving the placenta as well, can lead to circulatory and metabolic changes affecting both short- and long-term survival and development. In this paper, the causes and immediate consequence of being born with low birthweight, intrauterine growth restriction or small for gestational age will be discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics