Children who experienced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) may be at increased risk for adverse neurologic developmental outcomes during the school-age years of life.


To estimate the effect of IUGR on cognition and behavior in school-aged children.


Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO were searched for English-language articles published after 1980.


We included case-control studies reporting cognitive and/or behavioral data of children who had IUGR and were evaluated afterfifth birthday.


Cognitive data from 15 studies and behavioral data from 6 studies were selected with a total of 1559 cases and 1630 controls. The cognitive scores and behavioral outcomes were extracted.


The controls had significantly higher cognitive scores than the children with IUGR (standardized mean difference [SMD] –0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] –0.51 to –0.25, P < .00001). The IQ scores of the IUGR group were not significantly correlated with mean birth weight and gestational age (P > .05). Five trials were included in the behavioral outcomes trial, the behavior scores were significantly different between the groups with and without IUGR (SMD 0.31, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.48, P = .001). The incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not significantly different between 2 groups (P = .11).


The number of studies that assessed behavioral and ADHD outcome is small.


The findings demonstrate that IUGR is associated with lower cognitive scores in school-age children. However, further large-scale trials are needed to assess the effects of IUGR on the outcome of behavioral disorder and ADHD.

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