Effect of (minor or major) maternal trauma on fetal motility: A prospective study

B.J. van der Knoop, P.E.M. van Schie, R.J. Vermeulen, L.R. Pistorius, M.M. van Weissenbruch, J.I.P. Vries

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Fetal motility represents the spontaneous activity of the central nervous system and as such can be used to evaluate its functional integrity. Maternal mechanical trauma in pregnancy is a risk factor for hypoxic ischemic brain injury and can potentially affect the CNS and fetal motility. Aim: To study motility in fetuses after maternal trauma. Study design: Prospective study; 1-h sonographic observations at 2-8h (T1), 24-72h (T2) and >72h (T3) after trauma. Subjects: Fetuses exposed to trauma after 20. weeks gestational age. Outcome measures: Motor aspects; differentiation into specific movement patterns, quality and quantity of general movements were compared to a normal population. Obstetrical outcome; neurological outcome at term and 1year of age. Results: Sixteen fetuses were examined between 2012 and 2014. Median gestational age at time of trauma was 25+6 (range 20-38) weeks. Most traumas were traffic accidents or falls, injuries were mainly minor. Motility assessment showed abnormal differentiation in 2/16; 2/14 and 0/16; abnormal quality in 2/16; 3/14 and 6/16; and abnormal quantity in 6/16, 9/14 and 9/16 at T1, T2 and T3 respectively. Preterm delivery occurred once. Neurological development was normal in 13/14 infants at term and 14/14 at one year. Conclusions: This study shows that maternal trauma affected fetal motility in the majority of the fetuses. The changes in motility support the concern that even minor mechanical trauma may have influence on the functional integrity of the central nervous system, although no neurological sequelae were present at 1year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-517
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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