The reactivity of skin blood flow and heart rate to periodic thermal stimulation was studied in 10 term small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants, in 9 preterm and 8 term normal-sized infants during the first two postnatal months. During the first postnatal days, the increase in thermally stimulated skin blood flow oscillations was absent in SGA infants but was clearly present in both preterm (p < 0.01) and term (p<0.01) normal-sized infants. The responsiveness of SGA infants improved during the follow-up (p < 0.05). The response of the periodic heart rate variability of SGA and preterm infants was inferior to term normal-sized infants until the age of 2 months. The cardiovascular responsiveness of growth-retarded infants seems abnormal during the first days of life, and may impair their ability to meet stress, e.g. changes of ambient temperature.