Finding out that you may have an intrauterine growth restriction or placental insufficiency is beyond scary. The world practically stops as you sit in your gown, wiping ultrasound jelly off your belly and try to listen to the Medstar resident explain your options. You pull yourself together for the sake of your child as you carefully listen to what you need to do next.
Prevention and Treatment
When the placenta is either restricting your baby’s growth, oxygen, or nutrient intake, there are several steps you must take depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and the overall health of your baby. As a baseline, remember that all pregnant women—healthy as well as at-risk—shouldn’t consume alcohol or smoke, in order to avoid birthing complications and growth problems.
- Less than five months but showing signs of possible placental damage: Consistent prenatal care and frequent checkups to monitor placenta and baby’s growth; cease all consumption of alcohol, smoking and drugs.
- Less than nine months (36 weeks) with a healthy/active baby: Your doctor may choose to continue monitoring the situation and suggest increased bed rest or blood pressure treatments.
- Less than nine months with signs of fetal distress: Depending on the severity of your child’s distress, you and your doctor must discuss options either for waiting while being put on strict bed rest regimen; inducing labor; or having a cesarean.
- Over 36 weeks with signs of fetal distress: Generally, induced labor or c-section is recommended.
It is extremely important throughout all pregnancies to try to remain calm even during stressful situations, as an increased blood pressure in the mother can cause blood flow and placenta problems for the baby. If you’re concerned about your child’s health, make sure you keep up with your prenatal care and see your physician frequently for monitoring, ultrasounds, tests, and peace of mind.
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