A study on the association between eye movements and regular mouthing movements (RMMs) in normal fetuses between 24 to 39 weeks of gestation

Kana Maehara, Seiichi Morokuma, Kazushige Nakahara, Hikohiro Okawa, Kiyoko Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Regular Mouthing Movements (RMMs) are movements in which lips and lower jaw movements occur regularly and can be observed in the fetus using transabdominal ultrasonic tomography. In near term infants, it is known that RMMs form clusters during the quiet sleep period. The notation of RMMs is not uniform, and is described as spontaneous sucking movement or non-nutritive sucking in newborns. Non-nutritive sucking is used to evaluate neurological function after birth, but there are no fetal indicators. The purpose of this study was to clarify the changes in the RMM clusters in fetuses at 24-39 weeks of gestation, and to investigate the relationship with the non-eye movement (NEM) period, which corresponds to the quiet sleep period after birth. Subjects included 83 normal single pregnancy cases. Fetal RMMs and eye movement (EM) were observed for 60 minutes using ultrasonic tomography and recorded as moving image files. We created time series data of eye movements and mouth movements from video recordings, and calculated RMM clusters per minute within effective observation time, RMM clusters per minute in EM period, RMM clusters per minute in NEM period, mouthing movements per cluster and ratio of number of RMM clusters per minute between NEM and EM periods and analyzed using linear regression analysis. As a result, critical points were detected in at two time points, at 32-33 weeks and 36-37 weeks of gestation, in RMM clusters per minute within the effective observation time and RMM clusters per minute in NEM period, respectively. RMM clusters in human fetuses increased from 32-33 to 36-37 weeks. This change is thought to represent fetal sleep development and central nervous system development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0233909
JournalPloS one
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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