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Perinatal outcomes of reduced fetal movements: a cohort study

A prospective cohort study of women presenting with reduced fetal movements (RFM) were followed to compare pregnancy outcomes with a control group. Women with RFM were more likely to be nulliparous, admitted and/or induced. Clinical implications of RFM requires more attention.

Claire McCarthy, Sarah Meaney, Keelin O'Donoghue
Journal Name
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Journal Article
Full Citation
McCarthy CM, Meaney S, O’Donoghue K. Perinatal outcomes of reduced fetal movements: a cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016;16:169.
Link to Publication


Women’s perception of their baby’s movement during pregnancy is an important marker of fetal wellbeing. Reduced fetal movement (RFM) in pregnancy is associated with complications such as stillbirth. We conducted a study of pregnant women presenting with RFM after 28 weeks’ gestation to a large maternity hospital. We looked at what happened for the remainder of their pregnancy and compared these women to a separate group of women who had no issues with fetal movement during their pregnancy. In total, 275 women presented with RFM, with 264 women in the other group. Women with RFM were more likely to be in their first pregnancy and have an induction of labour. 27% of women were admitted following presentation to the hospital with RFM, and 79% of women were delivered after their first presentation with RFM. Overall, 15% women had labour induced because they presented to the hospital with RFM. This study shows the increased care needs required by women with RFM. Increased care includes infant admission to the special care baby unit, higher rates of induction of labour and higher surveillance requirements for these women. This study demonstrates the need for increased attention to this area of practice.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,