Intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) is usually defined as impaired growth and development of the fetus and/or its organs during gestation. Infants are defined small for gestational age (SGA), following IUGR, when the birth weight is below the 10th percentile. Pre-natal congenital infections caused by T. gondii, rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and Treponema are associated with, and account for, approximately 5 to 15% of IUGR. On the other hand, SGA preterm infants are at increased risk of post-natal infection compared to their age-matched appropriately grown controls, in particular nosocomial infection, irrespective of the responsible pathogen. One possible mechanism is the retarded development in the immune system which has been described in association with IUGR. Indeed, SGA infants have a disproportionately small thymus and low leukocyte, lymphocyte and macrophage counts. However, immune therapies, including prophylactic intravenous immunoglobulins and GM-CSF have not proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of sepsis, and further research is required.
- Intrauterine growth retardation
- Newborn infant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology