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Research Article

Fetal activity and fetal wellbeing: an evaluation.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 29 May 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1305
  1. J F Pearson,
  2. J B Weaver


    The clinical value of the 12-hour daily fetal movement count (DFMC) as a test of antepartum fetal wellbeing was assessed. The lowest 2-5% of 1654 DFMCs recorded by 61 women who subsequently delivered healthy infants fell below 10 movements per 12 hours. This level was taken as the lower limit of normal for clinical purposes. A normal DFMC in a population at risk was associated with a satisfactory fetal outcome. A low DFMC was associated with a high incidence of fetal asphyxia, and when fetal death occurred fetal movements rapidly diminished and stopped 12 to 48 hours before death. The DFMC is a generally applicable method of monitoring fetal welfare during pregnancy which provides an inexpensive adjunct or even an alternative to the more expensive placental function tests in current use.