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Understanding reduced fetal movements in late pregnancy to reduce the risk of stillbirth

Awarded $124,771 in funding
Over 2 years, starting in 2024

The death of a fetus in late pregnancy is a tragic event that has lifelong impacts for the parents and their whānau.

Reduced fetal movements (RFM) are often the first and only indication of fetal risk during pregnancy, and a stillbirth is more likely to occur in women reporting RFM.

Currently it's not clear how to care for women reporting RFM, especially if they haven't reached full term (more than 37 weeks) and there are no obvious signs of immediate problems with the baby.

In healthy pregnancies, research suggests that most women feel their baby's movements getting stronger after 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, some may not notice any change in how often or how strong the movements are.

Professor Thompson and his team want to confirm the data by following pregnancies over a longer period of time, as they get closer to giving birth. This way, the researchers can get more detailed information about how fetal movements change over the course of pregnancy.

The team will also look at data from women who were admitted to hospital because of RFM. By combining these two sets of data, they will be able to determine if any improvements are needed in the clinical guidelines for RFM in late pregnancy.

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