Brief report: a preliminary study of fetal head circumference growth in autism spectrum disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Jan;41(1):122-9. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1019-6.


Fetal head circumference (HC) growth was examined prospectively in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD participants (N = 14) were each matched with four control participants (N = 56) on a range of parameters known to influence fetal growth. HC was measured using ultrasonography at approximately 18 weeks gestation and again at birth using a paper tape-measure. Overall body size was indexed by fetal femur-length and birth length. There was no between-groups difference in head circumference at either time-point. While a small number of children with ASD had disproportionately large head circumference relative to body size at both time-points, the between-groups difference did not reach statistical significance in this small sample. These preliminary findings suggest that further investigation of fetal growth in ASD is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cephalometry
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / diagnostic imaging
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Head / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Pregnancy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography