Fetal head sparing theory

The fetal head sparing theory is one that underpins asymmetrical intra-uterine growth restriction, where the difference between normal head circumference and decreased abdominal circumference is attributed to the fetus's ability to preferentially supply the cerebral, coronary, adrenal and splenic circulations. 

In a situation of chronic fetal hypoxaemia, the fetus redistributes its cardiac output to maximize the oxygen supply to brain by vasodilation of the cerebral arteries thereby causing a decrease in the left ventricular afterload.  

Share article

Article information

rID: 35784
System: Obstetrics
Section: Syndromes
Tags: cases, refs, stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fetal brain sparing effect

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.