Fetal MRI pp 177-189 | Cite as

Fetal Movements. Though They May Be Spontaneous, Yet There is Method in Them

Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


The spontaneous movements of the newborn infant have a long prenatal history: from 7 weeks and 2 days onward, the human embryo moves. Already 2–3 weeks later, the spontaneously generated motility shows a rich repertoire of coordinated and identifiable patterns. Once a movement pattern is stabilized, it remains present for at least until term, but usually for longer, sometimes even for life. Embryonic and fetal movements are necessary for the proper development of the skeletal, muscular, and neural systems, or vice versa; normal fetal development requires adequate fetal activity. Hence, function is an integral part of normal development, and the prenatal use of an (albeit immature) structure is necessary for the continuing and normal development of the very structure.


Amniotic Fluid Fetal Heart Rate General Movement Fetal Movement Breathing Movement 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Physiology, Center for Physiological MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria

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