Impact of intrauterine growth restriction on long-term health

Rehana A. Salam, Jai K. Das, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is responsible for the higher rates of fetal, perinatal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality. This review details the IUGR risk factors, its short and long-term sequel, the mechanism underlying the long-term consequences, and the strategies to tackle IUGR burden. RECENT FINDINGS: Short-term consequences of IUGR involve metabolic, thermal, and hematological disturbances leading to morbidities. Long term consequences due to changes in the fetal nutritional environment is associated with increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, systolic hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes type II in adulthood. There are no effective therapies to reverse IUGR, and antenatal management is aimed at determining the ideal time and mode of delivery. In order to prevent complications associated with IUGR, it is important to first detect the condition and institute appropriate surveillance to assess fetal well-being coupled with suitable intervention in case of fetal distress. SUMMARY: Reliable prediction of IUGR may be achieved by combining clinical risk factors with Doppler abnormalities, fetal growth, and biomarkers. If this can be achieved, there is potential to reduce future perinatal morbidity, mortality and long-term consequences, but steps geared toward the prevention of IUGR are of unparalleled importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • catch-up growth
  • intrauterine growth restriction
  • metabolic diseases
  • prenatal programming


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