Objective: Previous studies have shown that twins, when monitored simultaneously, show a remarkably high incidence of coincident fetal heart rate accelerations (about 58%). The current study examines synchrony of behavior patterns in twins.
Study design: We examined 37 fetal monitor strips from 15 sets of twins with simultaneous fetal heart rate and fetal movement recorded by means of Doppler techniques (Toitu MT-430 fetal actocardiograph). The strips were analyzed for coincidence of fetal heart rate accelerations and fetal movement episodes and then conceptually for synchrony of fetal behavior patterns on the basis of descriptions of behavioral states by Prechtl.
Results: Thirty-six percent of fetal heart rate accelerations were found to be simultaneous. Forty-three percent of movement epochs were considered simultaneous. We found that twins exhibited synchronous behavior patterns (basically sleep or awake state) 94.7% of the time.
Conclusion: Twin-twin interactions are more consistently related than suspected when observation is limited to heart rate alone, and the synchrony and role of fetal behavior states must be considered when twin interactions and behavior are studied.