Women's and Clinicians Perspectives of Presentation with Reduced Fetal Movements: a qualitative study

RMD. Smyth, Wendy Taylor, Alexander Heazell, Christine Furber, Melissa Whitworth, Tina Lavender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Worldwide maternal perception of fetal movements has been used for many years to evaluate fetal wellbeing. It is intuitively regarded as an expression of fetal well-being as pregnancies in which women consistently report regular fetal movements have very low morbidity and mortality. Conversely, maternal perception of reduced fetal movements is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. We sought to gain insight into pregnant women’s and clinicians views and experiences of reduced movements.

We performed qualitative semi-structured interviews with pregnant women who experienced reduced fetal movements in their current pregnancy and health professionals who provide maternity care. Our aim was to develop a better understanding of events, facilitators and barriers to presentation with reduced fetal movements. Data analysis was conducted using framework analysis principles.

Twenty-one women and 10 clinicians were interviewed. The themes that emerged following the final coding were influences of social network, facilitators and barriers to presentation and the desire for normality.

This study aids understanding about why women present with reduced movements and how they reach the decision to attend hospital. This should inform professionals’ views and practice, such that appreciating and addressing women’s concerns may reduce anxiety and make presentation with further reduced movements more likely, which is desirable as this group is at increased risk of adverse outcome. To address problems with information about normal and abnormal fetal movements, high-quality information is needed that is accessible to women and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Article number280
JournalB M C Pregnancy and Childbirth
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2016


  • Reduced fetal movements; qualitative; interviews; maternal experience; clinicians; management.


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