Children Born with Intrauterine Growth Restriction: Neuropsychological Outcome



Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a pathological prenatally occurring process that is characterized by a decrease in fetal growth velocity. It is associated with a higher incidence of fetal and parental stress, perinatal complications, and lifelong neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological consequences evident both at short term and at long term in a third to one-half of children. This chapter’s focus is on characterizing IUGR-related neuropsychological susceptibilities and the factors that mediate its severity, with a particular interest in time-locked growth catch-up processes. The neuropsychological profile presents a particular susceptibility to attention, auditory processing, and higher order tasks, such as planning and organization tasks and specific language tasks. Behavior is sometimes characterized by increased susceptibility to attention and specific learning deficits, inhibitory control difficulties, and/or internalized issues such as maladjustment and depression. Specific deficits seem to recover with somatic growth catch-up, particularly as a function of weight and head circumference catch-up within the first years of life. Interdisciplinary intervention guidelines are outlined.


Head Circumference Neonatal Complication Fetal Programming Neuropsychological Outcome Neuropsychological Profile 



Appropriate for gestation age


Cephalization index


Head circumference


Intellectual quotient


Intrauterine growth restriction


Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Task


Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure


Small for gestation age


Visual Aural Digit Span Test



This chapter was made possible by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation. Data cited is a product of a team effort of the pediatric neurology team at Tel Aviv Souraski Medical Center, The Child Development Center headed by Dr. Yael Leitner, mentored by Prof. Shaul Harel.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Developmental Neuropsychological Laboratory, Department of PsychologyGonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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