Stray-Pedersen B: [Clinical practice variation in reduced fetal movements]

Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt, Divisjon for epidemiologi, Postboks 4404 Nydalen, 0403 Oslo.
Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening 11/2005; 125(19):2631-4.
Source: PubMed


Reduced fetal movements imply a risk pregnancy. This condition is present in a significant proportion of pregnancies, but both the quality of information and that of clinical care is variable.
All delivery units in Eastern Norway and Bergen have registered all consultations for reduced fetal movements, as part of the international collaborative project "Fetal Movement Intervention Assessment" (Femina). Out of 23,933 deliveries, 1200 pregnancies were examined. In 1043 pregnancies the mother had spontaneously presented her concern over reduced fetal movements; these were included in analyses. Results are presented with a 95% confidence interval.
Asphyxia, death, growth restriction or preterm birth occurred in 19.6% (16.6-22.6%) of cases, ranging between units from 9.1% to 26.5%. Standard procedures varied extensively; ultrasonography was used in 39.0% to 98.6% and Doppler in 4.5% to 74.6% of cases. There was an association between outcomes and the procedures used. Women who waited 24 hours with reduced or absent movements before contacting healthcare had increased risk. Among those with absent movements, 47% (42-52%) had such risk behaviour.
There is a need for quality improvements in the information to pregnant women as well as in the clinical management of affected pregnancies. This could have large health benefits. We propose new guidelines for information and management.

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    • "Most women are aware of fetal movement (FM) and notice changes in its intensity and frequency [1]. Decreased fetal movement (DFM) causes concern [1,2] and often leads to unscheduled antenatal consultation [3,4], which consumes significant health care resources and remains a challenge in obstetric care. Although the majority of pregnancies with perceived DFM continue without complication [5], maternal concern should be taken seriously because DFM has been linked to a wide range of adverse birth outcomes, including fetal growth restriction (FGR) and death [6-10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal movement (FM) counting is a simple and widely used method of assessing fetal well-being. However, little is known about what women perceive as decreased fetal movement (DFM) and how maternally perceived DFM is reflected in FM charts. We analyzed FM counting data from 148 DFM events occurring in 137 pregnancies. The women counted FM daily from pregnancy week 24 until birth using a modified count-to-ten procedure. Common temporal patterns for the two weeks preceding hospital examination due to DFM were extracted from the FM charts using wavelet principal component analysis; a statistical methodology particularly developed for modeling temporal data with sudden changes, i.e. spikes that are frequently found in FM data. The association of the extracted temporal patterns with fetal complications was assessed by including the individuals' scores on the wavelet principal components as explanatory variables in multivariable logistic regression analyses for two outcome measures: (i) complications identified during DFM-related consultations (n = 148) and (ii) fetal compromise at the time of consultation (including relevant information about birth outcome and placental pathology). The latter outcome variable was restricted to the DFM events occurring within 21 days before birth (n = 76). Analyzing the 148 and 76 DFM events, the first three main temporal FM counting patterns explained 87.2% and 87.4%, respectively, of all temporal variation in the FM charts. These three temporal patterns represented overall counting times, sudden spikes around the time of DFM events, and an inverted U-shaped pattern, explaining 75.3%, 8.6%, and 3.3% and 72.5%, 9.6%, and 5.3% of variation in the total cohort and subsample, respectively. Neither of the temporal patterns was significantly associated with the two outcome measures. Acknowledging that sudden, large changes in fetal activity may be underreported in FM charts, our study showed that the temporal FM counting patterns in the two weeks preceding DFM-related consultation contributed little to identify clinically important changes in perceived FM. It thus provides insufficient information for giving detailed advice to women on when to contact health care providers. The importance of qualitative features of maternally perceived DFM should be further explored.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "So far, however, there is no conclusive evidence to support or refute formal FM counting as a means to reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality [10-15]. Despite this, extensive self-screening for DFM continues and management of maternal concerns for DFM remain a challenge in obstetric care [16-18]. Indeed, in a recent Lancet series of stillbirth prevention increased awareness and timely evaluation of women reporting DFM was ranked among top research priorities by an expert panel [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Fetal movement counting has long been suggested as a screening tool to identify impaired placental function. However, quantitative limits for decreased fetal movement perform poorly for screening purposes, indicating the need for methodological refinement. We aimed to identify the main individual temporal patterns in fetal movement counting charts, and explore their associations with pregnancy characteristics. Methods In a population-based prospective cohort in Norway, 2009–2011, women with singleton pregnancies counted fetal movements daily from pregnancy week 24 until delivery using a modified "count-to-ten” procedure. To account for intra-woman correlation of observations, we used functional data analysis and corresponding functional principal component analysis to identify the main individual temporal patterns in fetal movement count data. The temporal patterns are described by continuous functional principal component (FPC) curves, with an individual score on each FPC for each woman. These scores were later used as outcome variables in multivariable linear regression analyses, with pregnancy characteristics as explanatory variables. Results Fetal movement charts from 1086 pregnancies were included. Three FPC curves explained almost 99% of the variation in the temporal data, with the first FPC, representing the individual overall counting time, accounting for 91% alone. There were several statistically significant associations between the FPCs and various pregnancy characteristics. However, the effects were small and of limited clinical value. Conclusions This statistical approach for analyzing fetal movement counting data successfully captured clinically meaningful individual temporal patterns and how these patterns vary between women. Maternal body mass index, gestational age and placental site explained little of the variation in the temporal fetal movement counting patterns. Thus, a perceived decrease in fetal movement should not be attributed to a woman’s basic pregnancy characteristics, but assessed as a potential marker of risk.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "In Norway, significant variation has been shown in maternal recall of information received about fetal movement [10]. Further, women who waited >24 hours with reduced or absent movement before contacting healthcare have been shown to be at increased risk for adverse outcomes [22]. Maternal recall of having received information about fetal movement was associated with more frequent concerns, without improving pregnancy outcomes [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Delayed maternal reporting of decreased fetal movement (DFM) is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Inconsistent information on fetal activity to women during the antenatal period may result in delayed reporting of DFM. We aimed to evaluate an intervention of implementation of uniform information on fetal activity to women during the antenatal period. In a prospective before-and-after study, singleton women presenting DFM in the third trimester across 14 hospitals in Norway were registered. Outcome measures were maternal behavior regarding reporting of DFM, concerns and stillbirth. In addition, cross-sectional studies of all women giving birth were undertaken to assess maternal concerns about fetal activity, and population-based data were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry Norway. Pre- and post-intervention cohorts included 19 407 and 46 143 births with 1 215 and 3 038 women with DFM respectively. Among primiparous women with DFM, a reduction in delayed reporting of DFM (>/=48 hrs) OR 0.61 (95% CI 0.47-0.81) and stillbirths OR 0.36 (95% CI 0.19-0.69) was shown in the post-intervention period. No difference was shown in rates of consultations for DFM or maternal concerns. Stillbirth rates and maternal behavior among women who were of non-Western origin, smokers, overweight or >34 years old were unchanged. Uniform information on fetal activity provided to pregnant women was associated with a reduction in the number of primiparous women who delayed reporting of DFM and a reduction of the stillbirth rates for primiparous women reporting DFM. The information did not appear to increase maternal concerns or rate of consultation. Due to different imperfections in different clinical settings, further studies in other populations replicating these findings are required.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · BMC Research Notes
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