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Fetal Behavior and Heart Rate in Twin Pregnancy: A Review

  • Iva Tendais (a1), Gerard H. A. Visser (a2), Bárbara Figueiredo (a1), Nuno Montenegro (a3) and Eduard J. H. Mulder (a2)...

Abstract

Fetal movements and fetal heart rate (FHR) are well-established markers of fetal well-being and maturation of the fetal central nervous system. The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss the available knowledge on fetal movements and heart rate patterns in twin pregnancies. There is some evidence for an association or similarity in fetal movement incidences or FHR patterns between both members of twin pairs. However, the temporal occurrence of these patterns seems to be for the most part asynchronous, especially when stricter criteria are used to define synchrony. The available data suggest that fetal behavior is largely independent of sex combination, fetal position, and presentation. Conversely, chorionicity appears to have some influence on fetal behavior, mainly before 30 weeks of gestation. There is preliminary evidence for the continuity of inter-individual differences in fetal activity and FHR patterns over pregnancy. Comparisons between studies are limited by large methodological differences and absence of uniform concepts and definitions. Future studies with high methodological quality are needed to provide a more comprehensive knowledge of normal fetal behavior in twin pregnancy.

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Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Iva Tendais, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. E-mail: ivatendais@gmail.com

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