Objective: To evaluate the perinatal and neurodevelopmental outcome of small-for-gestational-age fetuses with normal umbilical artery Doppler managed expectantly during pregnancy and delivery.
Study design: Perinatal and neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed from a cohort of singleton small-for-gestational-age fetuses with normal umbilical artery Doppler and normally grown controls matched by gestational age at delivery, parity and parental socio-economic level. Neurodevelopmental outcome was prospectively evaluated by means of the 24-month Age&Stage Questionnaire (ASQ).
Results: A total of 129 small-for-gestational-age fetuses and 259 controls were included. Small-for-gestational-age fetuses had a higher risk for neonatal intensive care unit admission (15.5% versus 3.9%; p<0.001) and significant neonatal morbidity (2.3% versus 0%; p=0.04) than controls. At 24-months, these fetuses showed significantly lower neurodevelopmental centile in the problem solving (42.8 versus 52.1; p=0.001) and personal-social (44.4 versus 54.6; p<0.001) areas than controls.
Conclusion: Perinatal and neurodevelopmental outcome in small-for-gestational-age fetuses with normal umbilical artery Doppler is suboptimal, which may challenge the role of umbilical artery Doppler to discriminate between normal-SGA and growth-restricted fetuses.