Small for Gestational Age

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Small for Gestational Age

Small for gestational age, also known as intrauterine growth retardation, is defined as an infant or fetus smaller in size than expected, meaning a weight in the bottom tenth percentile for a particular age. Small for gestational age is believed to be related to placental insufficiency, infectious disease, congenital malformations, drug and alcohol abuse, and cigarette smoking. Other risk factors include maternal hypertension , first pregnancies, and exposure to environmental toxins . It is considered to be one cause of low birth weight (less than twenty-five hundred grams, or five pounds eight ounces). It is not synonymous with prematurity, which is defined as birth before thirty-seven-weeks gestation.

see also Infant Mortality Rate; Low Birth Weight Infant; Pregnancy.

Mary Cowley Parke


Strauss, R. S. (2000). "Adult Functional Outcome of Those Born Small for Gestational Age: Twenty-Six Year Follow-Up of the 1970 British Birth Cohort." Journal of the American Medical Association 283:625632.

Internet Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1994). "Low Birth Weight and Intrauterine Growth Retardation." In From Data to Action: Public Health Surveillance for Women, Infants, and Children. Available from <>

"Small-for-Gestational-Age Infant." Merck Manual. Available from <>

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small for gestational age (SGA) adj. describing a fetus or baby that has failed to reach the size or birth weight expected for its gestational age, either due to intrauterine growth restriction or because the baby is constitutionally small.