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Behav Neurosci. 2006 Jun;120(3):687-701.

Prenatal development of intrafetal and maternal-fetal synchrony.

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Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Fetal and maternal data were monitored serially at 6 gestational ages from 20 to 38 weeks in 195 Peruvian fetuses. Digitized data included fetal heart rate and motor activity, as well as maternal heart rate and electrodermal conductance. Time series analysis evaluated the development of synchrony in 2 streams of fetal functioning and between mothers and fetuses. Intrafetal synchrony between heart rate and motor activity developed in an orderly fashion, with peak cross-correlation approaching an asymptote at 5 s at 28 weeks. Synchrony was not observed between fetal heart rate and maternal measures. Fetal motor activity exhibited synchrony with both maternal electrodermal and heart rate activity. Implications for revealing fundamental properties of neural development prior to birth are discussed.

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