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Assessment of fetal movement to reduce stllbirths
  1. S Jha,
  2. O Brien
  1. Good Hope Hospital, Birmingham, UK


Aim To access information given to pregnant women regarding fetal movement.

Type of audit Prospective.

Settings Three hospitals (1 tertiary referral university hospital+2 district hospitals)

Background Maternal perception of decreased fetal activity is one of the most common complaint and also a common reason for frequent hospital visits in pregnancy. There is no universally acceptable definition of fetal movement. Women presenting with decreased fetal movements do have a higher risk of still birth, intra uterine growth restriction, preterm birth and other related outcomes. Very little research has been conducted to identify optimal management.

Methods Questionnaire given to pregnant women attending antenatal clinics.

Results The mothers believed that it was normal for their baby to move less often at the end of pregnancy. Many of them had waited 24–48 h before contacting a health professional. There is no evidence that fetal movement decreases in the third trimester. In few still births we had, the mother did not contact health professional upto 48 h thinking it might be normal for fetus to move less nearer to expected date of delivery.

Conclusion More than third of the women had not received information on the importance of reporting decreased fetal movements. There is no evidence that fetal movements reduce in third trimester. Increased maternal awareness to interpret fetal activity may produce better pregnancy outcomes. Information should promote high awareness of fetal activity. Giving misleading information regarding recution in fetal movements poses threat to fetus.

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