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Fetal manipulation for facilitating tests of fetal wellbeing

  • Review
  • Intervention

Authors

  • Kelvin H Tan,

    Corresponding author
    1. KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Singapore, Singapore
    • Kelvin H Tan, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, 100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore, 229899, Singapore. khtan@tan.net.

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  • Antoinette Sabapathy

    1. Nanyang Polytechnic, School of Health Sciences, Singapore, Singapore
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Abstract

Background

Manual fetal manipulation has been suggested to improve the efficiency of antepartum fetal heart rate testing.

Objectives

The objective of this review was to assess the merits or adverse effects of the use of manual fetal manipulation in conjunction with tests of fetal wellbeing.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (October 2007). We updated this search on 6 July 2012 and added the results to the awaiting classification section of the review.

Selection criteria

All published and unpublished randomised controlled trials assessing the merits of the use of fetal manipulation in conjunction with tests of fetal wellbeing.

Data collection and analysis

Both review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. Authors of published and unpublished trials were contacted for further information.

Main results

Only three trials with a total of 1100 women with 2130 episodes of participation were included. Manual fetal manipulation did not decrease the incidence of non-reactive antenatal cardiotocography test (odds ratio 1.28, 95% confidence interval 0.94 to 1.74).

Authors' conclusions

Manual fetal manipulation has not been shown to reduce the incidence of non-reactive cardiotocography. Trials of manual fetal manipulation should take into consideration that there have not been any benefits demonstrated as yet.

[Note: the two citations in the awaiting classification section may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.]

Plain language summary

Fetal manipulation for facilitating tests of fetal wellbeing

No evidence that manual fetal manipulation of unborn babies make tests of their wellbeing more effective.

Tests on unborn babies such as ultrasound and heart rate testing are carried out to check their wellbeing. As a baby's sleep periods can alter those results, various methods are used to wake the baby. Manual fetal manipulation is one of the methods. The review of trials did not find this method to be effective. Research on manual fetal manipulation should take into consideration that there have not been any benefits demonstrated as yet.