The relationship between Doppler measurements, size and growth rate in fetal growth restriction has not been defined. We used functional linear discriminant analysis (FLDA) to investigate these parameters taking account of the difficulties inherent in exploring relationships between repeated observations from a small number of cases. In 40 fetuses with severe growth restriction, serial abdominal circumference (AC), umbilical, middle cerebral artery (MCA) and ductus venosus Doppler pulsatility index measurements were recorded. In 11 singleton fetuses with normal growth, umbilical artery pulsatility index only was measured. Data were expressed as z-scores in relation to gestation and analysed longitudinally using FLDA. In severe growth restriction, the Spearman correlation coefficients between umbilical artery pulsatility index and AC z-score, MCA pulsatility index and AC z-score and ductus venosus pulsatility index z-score and AC z-score were, respectively: -0.36, p = 4.4 ? 10(-7); 0.70, p = 1.1 ? 10(-17) and -0.50, p = 8.1 ? 10(-4). No relationship was seen between Doppler parameters and growth rate. There was no relationship between umbilical artery pulsatility index and AC nor growth rate in normally grown fetuses. In severe fetal growth restriction, Doppler changes are related to absolute fetal AC size, not growth rate.