Background: Pregnant women sometimes worry about their unborn baby’s health, often due to decreased fetal movements. Objectives: To examine how women, who consulted health care due to decreased fetal movements, describe how the baby had moved less or differently. Methods: Women were recruited from all seven delivery wards in Stockholm, Sweden, during 1/1 – 31/12 2014.The women completed a questionnaire after it was verified that the pregnancy was viable. A modified content analysis was used to analyse 876 questionnaires with the women’s responses to, “Try to describe how your baby has moved less or had changes in movement”. Results: Four categories and six subcategories were identified: “Frequency” (decreased frequency, absence of kicks and movement), “Intensity” (weaker fetal movements, indistinct fetal movements), “Character” (changed pattern of movements, slower movements) and “Duration”. In addition to the responses categorised in accordance with the question, the women also mentioned how they had tried to stimulate the fetus to move and that they had difficulty in distinguishing fetal movements from contractions. Further, they described worry due to incidents related to changed pattern of fetal movements. Conclusion: Women reported changes in fetal movement concerning frequency, intensity, character and duration. The challenge from a clinical perspective is to inform pregnant women about fetal movements with the goal of minimizing unnecessary consultations whilst at the same time diminishing the length of pre-hospital delay if the fetus is at risk of fetal compromise.
Funding: The Little Child´s Foundation, Sophiahemmet Foundation, The Swedish National Infant Foundation and Capo’s Research Foundation funded this study.
The 2016 International Conference on Stillbirth, SIDS and Baby Survival, Montevideo, Uruguay, 8-10 september 2016