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Fetal Behaviour: A Neurodevelopmental Approach

Fetal Behaviour: A Neurodevelopmental Approach

Christa Einspieler, Daniela Prayer, Heinz R. F. Prechtl

ISBN: 978-1-898-68387-2

May 2012

212 pages

Select type: Hardcover

In Stock



Clinics in Developmental Medicine No. 189

Fetal behaviour and movements not only give an insight into the developing brain, as an expression of neural activity, but are also necessary for the further development of neural structure and of other organs. This book presents an account of our current understanding of fetal behaviour as obtained through the assessment of fetal movements and behavioural states. The approach is based on the premises of developmental neurology, and provides important clues for the recognition of the age-specific functional repertoire of the nervous system. The companion DVD contains 26 movies using both ultrasound and dynamic MRI to illustrate the text.
After presenting the historical background, the authors describe in detail the patterns of fetal movements and the mechanisms underlying them: They then discuss determinants of fetal behaviour, explaining the impact of different pregnancy-related and maternal factors on behaviour. Other chapters describe important aspects such as fetal responsiveness, laterality and development of handedness, and the behaviour of twins. The final chapter reviews research on the effects of various neurological conditions on fetal behaviour. The ability to assess the functional condition of the nervous system is invaluable to the clinician, as a considerable percentage of early brain damage is of prenatal origin.

The structured and standardized description of fetal behavioural patterns proposed in this book improves our ability to understand the mechanisms underlying various aspects of behaviour in healthy fetuses and in those with brain lesions or other risk factors. Because of this, the volume will be of great interest not only to researchers in this field but also to all of those working in neonatology, paediatrics and paediatric neurology.

Readership: Researchers in this field, neonatologists, paediatricians, paediatric neurologists, neurophysiologists, neuroscientists, obstetricians


1. Observation of fetal behaviour.

2. Spontaneous motor behaviour.

3. Prenatal laterality.

4. Behavioural states.

5. Fetal responsiveness.

6. Fetal behaviour in twins.

7. Determinants of fetal behaviour.

8. Functional assessment of the nervous system and its relevance to clinical syndromes.