To examine the effects of intrauterine growth restriction on nephron number, renal circulation, and renal excretory functions in newborns, studies were conducted on 1-day-old anaesthetized piglets, divided into normal weight (n = 6) and intrauterine growth restricted (n = 6) piglets. Renal blood flow was measured by coloured microspheres, glomerular filtration rate was measured by inulin clearance, and osmotic clearance and fractional sodium excretion were calculated. In addition, an estimation of the nephron number was performed by counting representative glomerular numbers in microscopic sections. Newborn intrauterine growth restricted piglets exhibited a reduced glomerular filtration rate and osmotic clearance (P < 0.05), whereas renal blood flow and the filtration fraction as well as fractional sodium excretion were similar in normal weight and intrauterine growth restricted piglets. The nephron number was markedly reduced in intrauterine growth restricted piglets even if the nephron number was related to body weight (P < 0.01). There was a positive correlation between nephron number and glomerular filtration rate (r = 0.69, P < 0.05). Reduced glomerular filtration rate of newborn intrauterine growth restricted piglets is associated with a reduced nephron number. Thus, at birth, compensatory response of renal function due to nephron deficit does not exist in intrauterine growth restricted piglets.