Fetal hemodynamics and language skills in primary school-aged children with fetal growth restriction: A longitudinal study

Noora Korkalainen, Lea Partanen, Juha Rasanen, Anneli Yliherva, Kaarin Mäkikallio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Aim: Long-term follow-up studies on children born with fetal growth restriction (FGR) have revealed a specific profile of neurocognitive difficulties, including problems with speech, language and literacy skills. We hypothesized that problems with communication skills, including language use and literacy skills of FGR children at primary school age are associated with prenatal circulatory changes. Methods: Ultrasonographic assessment of fetoplacental hemodynamics was performed prenatally in 77 fetuses. After a follow-up period of 8–10 years, assessment of reading and spelling skills using standardized tests and the Children's Communication Questionnaire (CCC-2) was performed to measure different language skills in 37 FGR children and 31 appropriately grown (AGA) controls, matched for gestational age. Results: Increased blood flow resistance in the umbilical artery (UA PI >2 SD) during fetal life showed odds ratios of 3.5–19.1 for poor literacy and communication skills and need for speech and language therapy. Furthermore, FGR children with prenatal cerebral vasodilatation (cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) < −2 SD) had significantly poorer literacy and communication skills, at primary school age compared to the AGA controls. Abnormal CPR demonstrated odds ratios of 4.2–28.1 for poor literacy and communication skills and need for speech and language therapy. Conclusion: Increased blood flow resistance in the umbilical artery and cerebral vasodilatation are associated with poor communication, language, and literacy skills at early school age in children born with FGR. These findings indicate the need for continuous follow-up of this group and timely targeted support to ensure optimal academic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Cerebroplacental ratio
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Language skills
  • Long-term outcome
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Umbilical artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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