The effect of severe intrauterine growth retardation on the quality of general movements was studied longitudinally in 17 human fetuses. During the prenatal and postnatal periods, fetal movements were recorded by means of weekly 1 h ultrasound and video registrations. Neurological examinations were performed at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after birth. No clear effect of uncomplicated intrauterine growth retardation could be detected on the quality of general movements. General movements became slow and small in amplitude (4/5) in cases where there was a reduction in the amount of amniotic fluid. Parallel to the onset of abnormal fetal heart rate patterns, general movements became poor in repertoire (7/7), while they were hardly discernible after further deterioration of the fetal condition (5/7). With the exception of 3 infants with cerebral haemorrhages, the quality of general movements observed just before and after birth was identical (13/16). In these infants, the quality of general movements as well as the results of the standardized neurological examination tended to normalize at 3 months and 1 year, respectively. Uncomplicated IUGR had no marked effect on the quality of general movements or on the results of the neurological examination at the age of 1 year.