Fetal movement assessment

Semin Perinatol. 2008 Aug;32(4):243-6. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2008.04.004.


Maternal perception of fetal movements is the oldest and most commonly used method to assess fetal well-being. While almost all pregnant women adhere to it, organized screening by fetal movements has seen variable popularity among health professionals. Early results of screening were promising and fetal movement counting is the only antepartum testing method that has shown effect in reducing mortality in a randomized controlled trial comparing testing versus no testing. Although awareness of fetal movements is associated with improved perinatal outcomes, the quest to define a quantitative "alarm limit" to define decreased fetal movements has so far been unsuccessful, and the use of most such limits developed for fetal movement counting should be discouraged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Death / diagnosis
  • Fetal Death / prevention & control*
  • Fetal Movement*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Stillbirth