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Antenatal therapy for intrauterine growth retardation

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Currently, there is no effective antenatal therapy for intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). Although the IUGR fetus is undernourished in utero and there have been many attempts to treat IUGR with nutritional supplements, most studies have been poorly controlled, and there is no evidence to date that nutrient supplements can reverse the process of IUGR once it is established. Nutrient supplementation is also potentially risky and a combination of nutrients is likely to be needed. Alternative approaches to antenatal therapy for IUGR that show promise include fetal growth hormone and insulin‐like growth factor I treatment to improve fetal growth. Fetal and maternal hormone supplements may also prove useful in IUGR by improving placental function and thus fetal substrate supply. Fetal enteral supplementation by the administration of growth factors and/or nutrients into the amniotic fluid may also prove effective and clinically feasible. It seems likely that combinations of these approaches will be required before effective therapy can be devised for the IUGR fetus in utero. □ Amniotic fluid, fetus, growth, growth hormone, growth retardation, insulin‐like growth factor I, nutrition, therapy

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.1997.tb18414.x

Affiliations: Research Centre for Developmental Medicine and Biology, Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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