Dr. Simi Gupta joins Dr. Fox to discuss fetal growth restriction, which refers to babies who are under the 10th percentile in size. Dr. Gupta has researched this condition and explains that while most of the time there are no health concerns, doctors can watch out for other signs that may mean the baby is at risk.
“Fetal Growth Restriction” – with Dr. Simi Gupta
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Dr. Simi Gupta explains fetal growth restriction, a condition that she has personally studied and researched. Fetal growth restriction refers to babies that are under the 10th percentile in size, and Dr. Gupta explains that there is often nothing wrong with these babies. Most commonly, they are simply genetically or coincidentally smaller than average, and parents do not need to be concerned.
However, there are some other factors that doctors will check if a baby is smaller than usual. Dr. Fox and Dr. Gupta explain that they check whether the baby has enough fluid around it, for example. Low fluid around a baby is a concern, because it indicates that they are not getting enough nutrition. However, adequate or normal amounts of fluid around the baby shows that they are hydrated and healthy. Drs. Fox and Gupta also explain that they will look to the placenta to see if there is an issue with blood flow. Finally, they will monitor whether the baby is moving around normally, as normal movement indicates that the baby has enough oxygen.
Dr. Gupta also explains that the stage of the pregnancy is important when considering whether the small size is a concern. Babies closer to full-term vary more in size, while development at earlier weeks tends to be more standard. Early-onset growth restriction can be more of a concern. However, Dr. Gupta stresses that smaller size is not typically a cause for concern unless other abnormalities or risk factors are present.
Dr. Fox also mentions that it is possible that a baby only seems smaller than average because the due date is actually incorrect. Accurately predicting a due date can be achieved through earlier ultrasounds, but this isn’t always guaranteed. In addition, he explains that measuring fetal size isn’t very precise, so it can be difficult to be sure whether fetal growth restriction is necessarily taking place.
Finally, Drs. Gupta and Fox discuss timing and delivering a baby early due to fetal growth restriction. Dr. Gupta explains that “the last thing we want to do is deliver a baby early who didn’t need to be,” and that the “goal is to get them as close to their due date as possible.”
Dr. Simi Gupta is a board-certified OB/GYN with Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in New York City. She completed medical school at Cornell University and residency at the University of Texas in Houston before moving onto a Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at NYU, after which she joined the practice.