Concentrations of triglycerides, free fatty acids (FFA) and glycerol were measured in umbilical venous blood from 99 infants with a birth weight of between 1100-2700 g and a gestational age of 27-41 weeks. Thirty infants were small for gestational age (SGA), 58 were appropriate (AGA) and 11 were of uncertain gestational age. In AGA infants with a gestational age of less than or equal to 35 weeks. FFA values were lower than in those with a gestational age of less than 35 weeks; otherwise concentrations of triglycerides, FFA and glycerol were independent of birth weight and gestational age in AGA infants. In SGA infants, higher FFA values were found compared with both AGA and term infants of normal birth weight. Triglyceride values were higher in SGA than in AGA infants. In SGA infants, a significant positive correlation was found between gestational age and concentrations of both FFA and triglycerides. No differences in FFA, glycerol and triglyceride concentrations were seen between asphyxiated and non-asphyxiated AGA infants.