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Maternal Stress and Fetal Motor Behavior: A Preliminary Report

Rossi, Nicolino, Avveduti, Paola, Rizzo, Nicolo, & Lorusso, Raffaele. Maternal Stress and Fetal Motor Behavior: A Preliminary Report. Per and Peri-Natal Psychology Journal Vol. 3 (4), 1989, 311-318.

Fetal motility was observed by ultrasound scan in 15 pregnant women awaiting amniocentesis in order to assess the effects of maternal stress on fetal motor behavior. Amniocentesis was considered a stress situation giving rise to maternal anxiety not artificially induced. The control group consisted of 15 pregnant women undergoing routine ultrasound examination. Fetal motor activity was assessed in terms of quantity and quality. Anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Fetuses showed a significantly higher motor activity, although qualitative differences did not appear in the experimental group. Anxiety score was also higher than in the controls.

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