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New South Wales foetal movement guidelines give mothers more control

Summary of story from Sydney Morning Herald, October 20, 2011

This month, New South Wales Health is to introduce new clinical guidelines that will give pregnant women more control over their pregnancy.

From now on, expectant mothers in their third trimester will be able to take any concerns regarding foetal movement, to their maternity care provider and determine their treatment.

The new guidelines stipulate that any women who reports decreased foetal movement must receive a further assessment within 12 hours.

After that, if she reports no movement, she must have a further assessment, including heart monitoring, within two hours.

The chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Stillbirth Alliance, Dr Adrian Charles, said:

”Good protocols make for good practices. If there is decreased foetal movement, it should be regarded more seriously. Many times it will be that the foetus is fine. There are high false rates. But things happen very quickly.”

Maternal perception of foetal movement is linked to higher levels of stillbirth, preterm delivery and intrauterine growth restriction. The guideline document links better management of decreased foetal movement with lower incidence of stillbirth.

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