Assessment of Fetal Health Should Be Based on Maternal Perception of Clusters Rather Than Episodes of Fetal Movements

Fong Yoke Fai, Kuldip Singh, Peter Malcus, Arijit Biswas, S. Arulkumaran, S. S. Ratnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the level of correlation between mother and machine detected episodes and clusters of fetal movements and their association with fetal heart rate acceleration. Methodology: An observational study conducted on health pregnant women between 29-40 weeks gestation who were admitted in spurious labour to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University Hospital, Republic of Singapore. A continuous record of fetal heart rate and fetal movement was obtained using the fetal actocardiograph. Fetal movements felt by mother were also noted. If a continuous series of fetal movements were perceived over a period of 15 secs on more it was termed clusters of fetal movement. The presence or absence of acceleration in relation to these movements were noted. Results: There was a highly significant correlation between mother and machine in detection of clusters of fetal movements (r = 0.77, p < 0.001); for episodes of fetal movements, the correlation was weaker (r = 0.23, p < 0.05). All clusters of fetal movements perceived by the mother were recorded by the machine and were associated with fetal heart rate accelerations. Two or more accelerations within 3 minutes of the fetal movements were seen with 87.8% of clusters felt by mother compared with 66.7% detected by the machine (p = 0.01). In the 2,263 minutes of recording in 42 women, a cluster of fetal movements was felt at least every 25 minutes by the mother. Conclusion: Maternal perception of 1 or 2 clusters of fetal movements in 30 to 60 minutes may be as reliable as a non-stress test in reassuring good health. It would be less time consuming than the traditional count to 10 fetal movement chart and a more reliable indicator of fetal health than counting episodes of fetal movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996


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