Obstetric and neonatal performance were analyzed in an ultrasound-dated small for gestational age (SGA) population from 1982–1985. Eighty-three percent of 160 SGA infants were identified antenatally by means of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) risk scoring, and the pregnancies were supervised at a high-risk clinic. Fifty percent were delivered electively, predominantly in gestational weeks 38–39. Thirty percent were born preterm. The cesarean section rate was 40%. Perinatal mortality was 6%, or 4% when lethal malformations were excluded, ten times higher than the corresponding total population figures. Eleven percent of the fetuses had severe malformations. In the remaining SGA population, one infant died after experiencing severe perinatal asphyxia and another developed cerebral palsy; no other major sequelae were found before the age of 18 months. Hypoglycemia and hypothermia occurred frequently, but these problems were managed satisfactorily. The mean hospital stay for term infants was twice that of appropriate for gestational age infants. We conclude that the extra attention paid to the SGA population is well motivated. Future efforts should be directed toward improving the diagnostic techniques for IUGR, as most of the perinatal mortality occurred among SGA infants not identified before birth.
© 1988 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists