To examine whether differences in sleep maturation could be identified before birth, behavioural studies were carried out in 28 fetuses. Studies were possible in all 28 fetuses at 28 weeks, but only in 26 fetuses at 36 weeks (two fetuses delivered before 36 weeks). The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was determined using the Oxford SIDS scoring system. The fetuses at greater risk of SIDS had coincidence of behavioural characteristics for a significantly lower percentage of the time than those at low risk. This difference reached significance (p < or = 0.05) only at 36 weeks.
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