Subtle impairment of neurodevelopment in infants with late fetal growth restriction.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 Jan 17:1-8. Epub 2021 Jan 17.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Clinical and Surgical Sciences for Mothers, Children and Adults, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Introduction: Children with late fetal growth restriction (FGR) are at high risk of being born small for gestational age (SGA). These categories of newborns are at increased risk for neurodevelopment impairment. The general movements assessment, in particular at fidgety age, has been used to predict neurological dysfunctions. This study aimed to evaluate growth recovery, presence of fidgety movements at 3 months, and neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years of age in term late FGR infants and adequate for gestational age (AGA) controls.

Methods: Prospective clinical evaluation. At 3 months auxological parameters (AP) and neurological examination were evaluated while at 24 months neurodevelopment outcome by Griffiths Mental Development Scales (GMDS-R) was evaluated.

Results: 38 late FGR and 20 AGA controls completed the study. Despite a significant catch up, at 3 months 13% of late FGR presented at least one auxological parameter <3° percentile. Moreover, 23.7% of late FGR infants did not show fidgety movements compared to 100% AGA controls ( < .001). Cranial circumference at birth resulted a positive predictive factor for FMs ( = .039). At 2 years of age, a difference statistically significant between late FGR and AGA was detected in GMDS-R.

Conclusion: Independently from growth recovery, fidgety movements resulted less expressed in late FGR infants, and at 2 years of age the neurodevelopmental assessment revealed differences in each domain of evaluation between late FGR and AGA infants, although within normal ranges.

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