Placental insufficiency, in some form or fashion, is associated with the majority of cases of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). There are numerous causes of IUGR which are not caused primarily by placental insufficiency, but indirectly lead to it. The causes of IUGR can be subdivided into fetal and maternal etiologies. The fetal etiologies consist of genetic diseases, congenital malformations, infections, multiple gestations, and placental/cord abnormalities. The maternal etiologies are categorized as follows: (1) decreased uteroplacental blood flow, (2) reduced blood volume, (3) decreased oxygen carrying capacity, (4) nutrition status, (5) teratogens, and (6) miscellaneous causes such as short interpregnancy intervals, race, maternal age, and low socioeconomic status. Knowledge of the etiologies of fetal growth restriction is essential, so that future care can be targeted at prevention. There are several primary and secondary prevention strategies that can be adopted.
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