How will I know if my baby is just small or has IUGR?
During your pregnancy, your doctor will do tests to find out if your baby is growing normally. The main test for checking a baby's growth in the uterus is an ultrasound. The ultrasound exam lets your doctor see your baby in your uterus with an instrument that is moved across your abdomen.
While you are having an ultrasound exam, your doctor will measure the size of your baby's head, abdomen and legs. These measurements will tell you and your doctor if your baby is growing normally. Your doctor will also find out the amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus. In some babies who have IUGR, the amount of amniotic fluid is low. If your baby is small, ultrasound exams may be done more often than usual to check your baby's health.
Are there other tests I might have?
One test is fetal monitoring. It's a way to check your baby's health inside your uterus. Straps are put over your uterus as you lie down for about 30 minutes. You will hear your baby's heartbeat as it is recorded. Your doctor can look at the recording and see if your baby's heartbeat is normal.
You might also have an amniocentesis. A needle is put through your skin into your uterus. A few teaspoons of amniotic fluid are withdrawn in the needle. The fluid is tested to see if it shows the cause of the IUGR. The amniotic fluid can detect infection and some chromosomal abnormalities that can cause genetic problems.
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, http://www.aafp.org/afp/980800ap/peleg.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff