Association of intrauterine fetal growth retardation and learning deficits at age 9 to 11 years

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Dec;167(6):1499-505. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(92)91727-r.


Objective: We examined the association of fetal and newborn complications, socioeconomic status, and home environment with learning deficits as assessed between 9 and 11 years of age.

Study design: A total of 218 high-risk newborns have been assessed at 1, 4, and 9 to 11 years of age. Fetal and newborn complications included 77 newborns with growth retardation. Socioeconomic variables included parental occupation and education. Outcome measures at 9 to 11 years included the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test and the Wide Range Achievement Test. Motor and cognitive development was assessed by a neurologic examination, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Behavior was assessed with the Achenbach Child Behavior Check List and Connor's Teacher Rating Scale.

Results: Learning deficits were identified in 77 of the 218 children (35%). Children with learning deficits had lower full-scale IQ scores and behavioral problems of inattention and anxiety. Both fetal growth retardation and the father's occupation score were independently associated with these learning deficits.

Conclusion: Fetal growth retardation, socioeconomic status, and behavioral characteristics of inattention and anxiety are associated with less favourable academic achievement at 9 to 11 years of age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / complications*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / psychology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Intelligence
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Reading