Small for gestational age (SGA)

Overview

Most babies with SGA will catch-up to a normal length and/or weight by 2 years of age. Approximately 2.3% of all new-borns are born SGA.

Cause

Impaired growth of the baby while in the womb can be caused by a number of factors, including genetic, maternal, placental and demographic. Often the exact cause is not known.

Symptoms

Short stature is the main sign of SGA, other symptoms include poor appetite and reduced food intake, which results in leanness in comparison with children of the same age.

Diagnosis

Many babies will catch-up and return to normal growth within the first two years of life; however, some children will remain shorter. In some cases, children that do not catch up will need growth hormone therapy to help them to grow.

Little girl typing numbers on calculator

Growth calculator

It is important to keep track of your child’s growth in order to identify if there is a problem early on. We recommend measuring your child every 6 months, which is now easier, with our simple to use growth calculator.

Male and female patients waiting in corridor of medical centre

Talking to your doctor about child growth

If you are concerned about your own or your child’s growth, you should speak to a doctor. This section will help you with what questions to ask, so that you can be prepared.

Related

Familial short stature

Children with familial short stature tend to fall at the lower extreme of the growth chart (below the 3rd percentile) and their growth is usually impacted by their parents’ heights. This does not tend to impact their overall health and their height is generally considered to be appropriate for their genetic potential based on their parents’ heights.

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD)

When a child is diagnosed with GHD, it means that their body is not producing enough growth hormone, so they are not growing the way they should. GHD affects about 1 in every 30,000 children per year.