Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is most commonly caused by placental insufficiency, in response to which the fetus adapts its circulation to preserve oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain ( brain-sparing ). Currently, little is known about the postnatal course and consequences of this antenatal adaptation of the cerebral circulation. The altered cerebral haemodynamics may persist after birth, which would imply a different approach with regard to cerebral monitoring and clinical management of IUGR preterm neonates than their appropriately grown peers. Few studies are available with regard to this topic, and the small body of evidence shows controversy. This review discusses the cerebral circulatory adaptations of IUGR fetuses and appraises the available literature on their postnatal cerebral circulation with potential clinical consequences.