Eye movement density (EMD) is an evaluation index of rapid eye movements observed during sleep. This study aimed to investigate the association of fetal EMD with sleeping and developmental problems in infancy. We observed 60 normal singleton pregnancies (gestational age 28–37 weeks) using ultrasonography for 1 h. Fetal eye movements were counted, and EMD was calculated. Participants answered questionnaires regarding their child’s sleep and development 1.5 years after their delivery. The outcomes of an infant’s sleep were night awakening (yes or no), bedtime (before or after 22:00), and nighttime sleep duration (< 9 or ≥ 9 h). An infant’s development was evaluated using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) T-score. We found that decreased fetal EMD was associated with increased night awakening at the age of 1.5 years (odds ratio 0.84, 95% confidence interval 0.69–1.00 per unit decrease in EMD). However, fetal EMD was not associated with bedtime or nighttime sleep duration. In addition, fetal EMD was independently associated with the total problems T-score of the CBCL at the age of 1.5 years in the multivariate model (p = 0.047). In conclusion, fetal EMD may be associated with sleep and developmental problems in infants.
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