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Cohort study
Maternal perception of altered fetal activity and the risk of late stillbirth
  1. Alexander Heazell
  1. Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Alexander E Heazell
    Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester, 5th floor, St Mary's Hospital, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9Wl, UK; alexander.heazell{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Maternal perception of an active fetus and fetal hiccups is associated with reduced likelihood of late stillbirth.

  • A sudden change in maternally perceived fetal activity, particularly reduced fetal movements (RFM), is associated with late stillbirth and women should be encouraged to seek advice if this occurs.

  • Research is needed to examine the possible link between a single period of vigorous fetal activity and risk of late stillbirth.

  • The relationship between fetal hiccups, fetal breathing movements and their loss in compromised fetuses merits deeper exploration.


There has been no reduction in stillbirth rates for …

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  • Competing interests None.