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A third option to either subcortical or cortical activation includes the theory that activation of subcortical structures are modified by cortical structures when stimulations is present. In order to explore whether subcortical activation is modified by cortical input, examination of specific fetal movements via ultrasound in fetuses with and without cortical input would be required to detect if specific movements are altered or modified by cortical input.

Changes in the pattern of fetal movement between the 26 and 36 gestational week assessment support the argument that movement becomes more precise and coordinated as the fetus ages. At the younger assessment, bilateral agonist head extension and back arch muscle activation was observed with higher frequency. With advancing gestational age, an increase in contralateral agonist and antagonist head rotation was observed.

This suggests that muscle activation becomes more coordinated later in gestation. The decrease in general body movements and increase in limb movements with advancing gestation suggests movements become more precise or specific to isolated areas of the body. This decrease in general body movements may also be influenced by a decrease in uterine space inherent in advancing gestational age.

In addition, the decrease in jerky movements and increase in smooth movement across gestation suggests that the fetus may have a greater ability to coordinate movement with development of increased sensory connections to the motor system. The overall increase in fetal breathing movement from 26 to weeks gestation is consistent with previous research Gagnon et al.

As the fetus matures, a larger frequency of rhythmical breathing and mouthing was observed, which may be an important precursor to the rhythmical coordination between breathing and sucking required for feeding while breathing after birth. Comparison of movement between the baseline, immediate response, and post-response period suggests that after intense stimulation movement regresses to patterns observed earlier in gestation.

The increase in head movement and large limb movements from baseline to immediate response period at both gestational ages suggests these movements compose a large portion of the movement response to this novel stimulus, while the decrease in regular fetal breathing indicates a cessation of this activity in response to novel stimulation.

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Head movements in response to a startling and intense stimulation may increase visual localization of the stimuli, while limb movements may be useful for protection. Fetal breathing movements promote lung development, but are not as vital to the fetus during times of stress.

In addition to the increases in specific large movements, an increase in jerky, irregular, and non-rhythmic movements were observed which might signal motor immaturity and a startle in the fetus. Use of more immature, larger movements following VAS stimulation in the fetus supports the prediction that with a novel, unexpected stimulation, the fetus will revert to patterns of movements observed at earlier stages of development. Movement regression post VAS stimulation may reflect a lack of motor experience with the newer learned movements and the emergence of older movement patterns that are more stable with stronger neurological connections.

This display of immature patterns following VAS stimulation is consistent with the Dynamic Systems perspective that more rehearsed, stable patterns of behavior versus newer, emerging patterns of behavior will be observed during novel situations Heriza, One limitation of the present study design is the scoring of fetal movement as present or absent during s epochs.

Future work would benefit from the continuous evaluation of fetal movement to allow for the additional evaluation of coordination of fetal movement responses. However, continuous observation of specific movements during s intervals is a significantly higher temporal resolution than has been included in previous observations of fetal movement in response to VAS Gagnon et al.

Further, the current study included comprehensive assessments of fetal behaviors at baseline and in response to a standardized challenge VAS. Inclusion of 12 subjects in the current study may be viewed as a limitation. The statistical differences found also suggest that the effect size for movement differences is large enough to be highlighted utilizing a small number of subjects.

This study adds new information regarding motor development during the fetal period, however, observation of fetal movement utilizing the FENS during a broader range of gestation weeks with more subjects will highlight movement development issues not observed in this present study.

In addition, assessment of fetal motor development across gestation with the documentation of endocrine influences may highlight influence of the maternal system on fetal neurological systems and subsequent development DiPietro et al. Sex differences in fetal motor maturation should be examined Bernardes et al. The development of more complex movements as the fetus ages is an important indicator of motor development and may signal neurological development and motor learning. As the fetus ages, our data suggest movement becomes more complex and coordinated.

However, during periods of intense stimulation, such as the VAS, fetal movements are characterized by higher frequencies of more immature and uncoordinated movement patterns. Based on our data, changes in fetal movement at different ages and following VAS appear to be part of the normal maturational process. With further research supporting of these findings, a specific assessment utilizing these motor differences may be useful at the clinical level to document neurological maturation.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Sandman HD and NS The authors wish to thank the families who participated in this project. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Dec Glynn , 2, 3 Amy L. Sandman 3. Laura M. Amy L. Curt A. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Reviewed by: Moriah E. This article was submitted to Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology. Received Jun 10; Accepted Nov 8. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License , which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract Background: Ultrasound observation of fetal movement has documented general trends in motor development and fetal age when motor response to stimulation is observed. Keywords: motor development, fetal programming, prenatal, pregnancy, fetal movement. Materials and Methods Using a prospective, longitudinal design, maturational changes in fetal motor development were assessed in 12 fetuses at 26 and 36 gestational weeks.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 5. Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4. Discussion The results indicate that: 1 graded movements became more complex and coordinated over gestation, and 2 VAS stimulation resulted in an increase in large, more robust, possibly immature, movements at both gestational ages. Sharing experiences and learning more about what is to come can be enjoyable and make it easier to cope. At week 25, your baby is now the size of a rutabaga or two juice boxes stacked on top of each other, measuring over 9 inches long and weighing more than a pound and a half.

25 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

The baby's eyelids open for the first time around this week. The brain, lungs, and digestive system are formed but not fully developed. Head and neck : Auditory and visual systems are activated by fetal brain waves, the lips and mouth are increasingly sensitive, vision is improving with responses to light, and the eyelids can move. Permanent teeth buds are high in the gums. The nostrils are open. Lungs : These are developing quickly, but they are not mature at this point.

They produce a surfactant that will help them expand after delivery. Blood : Small blood vessels are forming under the skin, called capillaries. Heart rate is now around beats per minute. During gestation, the heartbeat is much faster than it will be after delivery. Getting plenty of sleep is good for you and your baby.

Baby movements in pregnancy

Most adults should have between 7 and 9 hours sleep. During the first trimester, you probably needed a few extra hours , made up either through sleeping longer at night or by napping during the day. In the second trimester, many women find they have more energy and need less sleep, but as you approach the third trimester, you may find yourself napping again. At night, sleeping may be harder because of frequent bathroom visits and physical discomfort, such as indigestion.

Try limiting your food and fluid intake toward bedtime to reduce these problems.

Development of normal fetal movements : the first 25 weeks of gestation

Around this time, the doctor may arrange a screening test for gestational diabetes, called the oral glucose challenge test OGCT. This is usually done between weeks 24 and 28 , but women who have previously had gestational diabetes might be screened earlier.

If the test is positive, you may have to complete another test called an oral glucose tolerance test GTT. If this is also positive, you will be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and the following will be recommended:. Preterm labor : If you experience uterine contractions, which are painful and become repetitive, you should call your doctor. Also, call for any vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluid from your vagina. Cholestasis of pregnancy : If you experience severe itching, you should tell your health provider, as it may be a sign of a rare but possibly serious liver condition.

Preeclampsia : If you have high blood pressure , this could indicate another serious condition, preeclampsia, that can be harmful for both mother and baby. You should seek medical help at once if your blood pressure goes up, or if you have severe headache , right upper abdominal pain, or rapid swelling, which can all be symptoms of preeclampsia. You should continue to take care of your general health by eating a balanced diet, exercising, and avoiding toxins such as alcohol and tobacco.

It is time to start thinking about prenatal classes. Find out from your health provider what is available in your area. You should also be doing kegel, or pelvic floor, exercises. These strengthen your pelvic muscles for delivery, and they can help prevent stress incontinence after giving birth.

Caffeine consumption should be kept to below milligrams mg , or two cups of instant coffee , a day. How the placenta's immune system responds to infections can affect the mother's susceptibility to infections. To protect yourself and your baby, you should take care to avoid exposure to certain infections during pregnancy.

Flu : This can lead to pneumonia and complications for the baby, especially later in pregnancy. It is safe to have a flu vaccine during pregnancy to prevent flu. If you think you might have flu, contact your health provider. Toxoplasmosis : Avoid changing cat litter where possible, as this can be passed on in cat feces and it can lead to a loss of pregnancy or problems for the baby after delivery. Rubella : Symptoms include a pink rash.

Exposure to rubella in the U. If you think you have been exposed to rubella, contact a health provider as soon as possible.

[PDF] Development of Normal Fetal Movements: The First 25 Weeks of Gestation - Semantic Scholar

Cytomegalovirus : This is a common virus that many people are exposed to as children. Infection is normally mild, but if it occurs during pregnancy, it can be passed on to the unborn child, with serious effects. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link s above.

Article last updated by Yvette Brazier on Fri 2 March All references are available in the References tab. By 35 to 40 weeks of gestation, fetuses are capable of living ex utero without support, but it is increasingly appreciated that even infants born at between 35 and 36 weeks can suffer long-term consequences.


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The information provided will alert clinicians to deviations from the norm and to physiologic phenomena that can turn pathologic in infants born prematurely. For more than a decade she worked at the Tavistock Clinic, London, where her responsibilities included teaching child neurology and psychiatry. Since she has worked at the First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Milan, where she is involved in research into fetal and neonatal behavior and physiology and maternal behavior during pregnancy and the early post-partum period.

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