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Low Maternal Awareness of Fetal Movement is Associated With Small for Gestational Age Infants

Authors

  • Eli Saastad CNM, MSc,

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    • Eli Saastad, CNM, MSc, is a PhD student at the Medical Faculty at University of Oslo, Norway, and a university lecturer at Akershus University College, Lillestrøm, Norway.

  • Tone Ahlborg CNM, PhD,

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    • Tone Ahlborg, CNM, PhD, is an assistant professor at Akershus University College, Lillestrøm, Norway, and at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.

  • J. Frederik Frøen MD, PhD

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    • J. Frederik Frøen, MD, PhD, is a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway, and an associate professor at the Medical Faculty at University of Oslo, Norway.


Eli Saastad, CNM, MSc, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, PB 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: eli.saastad@fhi.no

Abstract

Our aim was to identify associations between information given to pregnant women about fetal activity, level of maternal awareness of fetal activity, maternal concern about decreased fetal movement, and pregnancy outcomes. This was a population-based cross-sectional study. Mothers with a singleton delivery were invited to answer an anonymous structured questionnaire before discharge from the delivery unit. Six hundred and ninety-one mothers participated (60.4% of eligible women). Women were highly aware of fetal activity. Yet, 25% did not receive any information from care providers about expected normal fetal activity. Receiving information about fetal activity was associated with increased maternal awareness (odds ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–3.4). Low maternal awareness of fetal activity was associated with an increased risk of having a small for gestational age infant (odds ratio, 6.5; 95% CI, 3.5–12.3). Expectations about the normal frequency of fetal movements, as reported by the mothers, varied from 25 kicks/hour to 3 kicks/24 hours. Receiving information about expected fetal activity was associated with maternal concerns about decreased fetal movement, but not with improved outcomes. We conclude that receiving information about expected fetal activity was associated with maternal concerns, but not with improved outcomes.

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