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Fetal homologue of infant crying
  1. J L Gingras1,2,
  2. E A Mitchell3,
  3. K E Grattan1
  1. 1The SIDS CARE Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC, USA
  2. 2University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Mitchell
    Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand;


Four behavioural states are recognised in the human fetus and are comparable to those of the neonate: 1F (quiet sleep), 2F (active state), 3F (quiet awake), and 4F (active awake). State 5, or crying, is not considered to have a fetal correlate. In a study assessing the effects of exposure to tobacco and cocaine during pregnancy on fetal response and habituation to vibroacoustic stimulation, what appears to be the fetal homologue of crying was observed. These behaviours were seen on ultrasound, and have been captured on video recordings and include: an initial exhalation movement associated with mouth opening and tongue depression, followed by a series of three augmented breaths, the last breath ending in an inspiratory pause followed by an expiration and settling. This is the first report/video documenting these behaviours and suggests the possibility of a state 5F.

  • crying
  • behavioural state

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  • Published Online First 27 April 2005

  • The project was funded by NICHD (National Institutes of Child Health and Development) and NIDA (National Institute on Drug Addiction) (RO1: DA05949).

  • Competing interests: none declared

  • To access the video clip mentioned in this paper please ensure that you have QuickTime installed on your computer.