small for gestational age, SGA

"Small for gestational age" refers to a baby who is lighter than two standard deviatons below the mean (less than 10th percentile) for normal newborns of his or her gestational age and sex (males are slightly heavier at birth than females, on average). We are immediately concerned about SGA babies because some of them are truly growth retarded infants and are at risk for potentially serious hypoglycemia in the first few hours after birth. The most profound neonatal hypoglycemia problems - after very rare insulin secreting tumors (nesidioblastosis) - occur in severely growth retarded, scrawny little babies who lack any stored reserves to make their own blood glucose once the cord is clamped.

Some of the major causative associations for SGA babies are maternal smoking, maternal high blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy, teen pregnancy and poor prenatal care, as well as placental insufficiency caused by intrinsic problems with the placenta.

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