We report MRI of the brain in 45 fetuses; the findings were confirmed by pathological examination or postnatal neuroradiological studies. MRI necessitates medication to eliminate fetal motion; curare was injected into the umbilical cord, and MRI is therefore limited to cases in which umbilical cord puncture is indicated. T1-weighted images were obtained in axial, sagittal and coronal planes; the last of these were generally as the most useful as regards morphology. We demonstrated cerebral malformations (n = 13), brain haemorrhage (n = 1), a facial angioma (n = 1), a facial mass (n = 1), hydrocephalus (n = 5), unilateral ventricular enlargement (n = 1), atrophy (n = 4), a porencephalic cyst (n = 1) and normal appearances of the brain in 18 cases. Twenty-two of the fetuses were born alive, and the clinical and/or neuroradiological examination confirmed the antenatal findings. The diagnosis was also confirmed in 8 cases in which a neuropathological examination was possible.