We prospectively performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies during the neonatal period, and at 4 and 8 months of age, on 15 term infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and compared the results with their neurodevelopmental outcome at 18 months of age. Cerebral palsy developed in nine infants, two infants were classified as having abnormalities of tone and delayed motor milestones that were suggestive of cerebral palsy, and four infants were normal. Structural abnormalities, delayed myelination, or a combination of the two were detected with MRI at 8 months of age in all nine infants with later development of cerebral palsy. Three of the four normal infants and one infant with suggestive abnormalities had normal serial MRI findings. Each of the remaining two infants (one normal, one with suggestive abnormalities) had isolated persistent ventricular dilation on all three MRI studies. Our results suggest that 8 months appears to be the earliest time at which MRI findings correlate well with later adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in this population.