Factors Affecting Maternal Perception of Fetal Movement

Christine East, Zina R Hijazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal perception of fetal movement is an important screening method for fetal well-being, as decreased fetal movement is associated with a range of pregnancy pathologies and poor pregnancy outcomes. An understanding of factors that may affect perception could help clinicians to determine the importance of maternal reports of decreased fetal movement. This review considers factors that may affect maternal perception of fetal movement and the sensitivity of maternal perception of fetal movements in comparison with ultrasound and other objective methods of movement detection. There is conflicting evidence on whether parity, gestational age, overweight and obesity, and placental location affect perception. This may be related to the small sample sizes of available studies and lack of consistent definitions of factors that may affect the ability of mothers to perceive movement. There is some evidence that psychological factors and duration of fetal movement may affect perception, and that strong movements and those including trunk movement are more likely to be perceived. The proportion of fetal breathing movements that mothers perceive has not been investigated. Research is also lacking as to whether there needs to be contact of fetal part(s) with maternal structures for movement to be perceived, and whether fetal position, amniotic fluid volume, maternal position, sedatives, or other drugs affect movement perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489 - 497
Number of pages9
JournalObstetrical and Gynecological Survey
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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