Human fetal movement: spontaneous oscillations near one cycle per minute

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Science  24 Dec 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4579, pp. 1327-1330
DOI: 10.1126/science.7146916


Spectral analysis of spontaneous fluctuations in human fetal movement revealed strong oscillations at frequencies between 0.24 and 0.90 cycle per minute, which are much higher than those of the cyclic alternation of quiet and active states in the fetus and neonate. Oscillations at frequencies up to 2.88 cycles per minute were also detected, but they were usually much weaker. The prominent peaks in the fetal movement spectra are in the frequency range of recently reported neonatal motor rhythms, and indicate the existence of a cyclic process controlling spontaneous motor output that oscillates near one cycle per minute and begins to function in utero.