Intrauterine Growth Restriction | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes IUGR?

IUGR has various causes. The most common cause is a problem in the placenta (the tissue that carries oxygen, food and blood to the baby). Birth defects and genetic disorders can also cause IUGR. If the mother has an infection, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease or sickle cell anemia, or is smoking, drinking alcohol or abusing drugs, her baby might develop IUGR. Sometimes a prescribed medicine that the mother is taking causes IUGR.

Did I cause this problem?

Most of the causes of IUGR are beyond your control. Usually, nothing the mother did causes IUGR in her baby. But if you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or abuse drugs, you can cause IUGR in your baby.

If I have another baby, will that baby also have IUGR?

Generally, no. IUGR usually doesn't occur in another pregnancy. But in some women, it does happen again. Women who have another pregnancy affected by IUGR usually have an illness, such as hypertension, that causes IUGR. Good control of illnesses before and during pregnancy lowers the risk of having another baby with IUGR.


Intrauterine Growth Restriction: Identification and Management by David Peleg, M.D., Collen M. Kennedy, M.D., and Stephen K. Hunter, M.D., PH.D. (American Family Physician August 01, 1998,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00