The normal growth of a baby in pregnancy is critical; abnormal growth can severely affect the rest of a child’s life, and can even result in fetal morbidity and mortality. During pregnancy, a fetus’ growth can be compared to predetermined measurements to find out whether or not the baby is growing as expected. In some cases, the baby’s weight may be significantly lower than expected, in which case growth retardation may be diagnosed. Growth retardation is typically diagnosed in babies who are less than 10% of predicted fetal weight for gestational age, which means the fetus is smaller than 90% of others his or her same gestational age. There are a number of factors that can cause decreased fetal growth, possibly including maternal use of certain pharmaceutical drugs in pregnancy. According to research, women who take certain medications, particularly anticonvulsant drugs, while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects, including growth retardation. If you took a medication while pregnant and your child was diagnosed with growth retardation, contact a birth defect attorney today, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.
When growth retardation is diagnosed in a baby, it is typically classified as either symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical growth retardation occurs when the abdomen, head and long bones undergo equally poor growth, while asymmetrical growth retardation describes a situation in which the head and long bones grow normally, but the abdomen does not. Growth retardation affects 3-10% of pregnancies, most of which are diagnosed as asymmetrical growth retardation, and 20% of stillborn babies suffer from growth retardation.
In many cases of growth retardation, the child experiences rapid catch-up growth in the first few months of life and attains normal growth curves by one year of age. However, postnatal growth in growth-retarded children depends largely on the cause of the growth retardation, the child’s social environment, and the child’s postnatal nutritional intake. Unfortunately, there are a number of serious, long-term complications that have been linked to growth retardation in children, including hyperactivity, clumsiness and poor concentration. Most neurons in the human brain develop before the 18th week of gestation, and, since symmetrical growth retardation affects all growth parameters, early gestational growth retardation would be expected to cause irreversible neurologic complications for the child. Other research has indicated that growth-restricted children may have an increased risk of abnormal obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension as adults.
Growth retardation is a severe birth defect that can have permanent complications for the affected child, if he survives past birth. If you or a loved one has suffered from growth retardation and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, contact a birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering, which you can pursue by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or doctor charged with your care. Medical professionals are expected to provide an adequate standard of care for their patients, protecting pregnant women in particular from potentially dangerous medications. Unfortunately, poor training, distractions and negligence can all contribute to a healthcare professional’s inability to properly care for his or her patient. With the help of a qualified birth defect lawyer, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected and feel confident that your attorney will fight for fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.