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1.  Wavelet principal component analysis of fetal movement counting data preceding hospital examinations due to decreased fetal movement: a prospective cohort study 
Fetal movement (FM) counting is a simple and widely used method of assessing fetal well-being. However, little is known about what women perceive as decreased fetal movement (DFM) and how maternally perceived DFM is reflected in FM charts.
We analyzed FM counting data from 148 DFM events occurring in 137 pregnancies. The women counted FM daily from pregnancy week 24 until birth using a modified count-to-ten procedure. Common temporal patterns for the two weeks preceding hospital examination due to DFM were extracted from the FM charts using wavelet principal component analysis; a statistical methodology particularly developed for modeling temporal data with sudden changes, i.e. spikes that are frequently found in FM data. The association of the extracted temporal patterns with fetal complications was assessed by including the individuals’ scores on the wavelet principal components as explanatory variables in multivariable logistic regression analyses for two outcome measures: (i) complications identified during DFM-related consultations (n = 148) and (ii) fetal compromise at the time of consultation (including relevant information about birth outcome and placental pathology). The latter outcome variable was restricted to the DFM events occurring within 21 days before birth (n = 76).
Analyzing the 148 and 76 DFM events, the first three main temporal FM counting patterns explained 87.2% and 87.4%, respectively, of all temporal variation in the FM charts. These three temporal patterns represented overall counting times, sudden spikes around the time of DFM events, and an inverted U-shaped pattern, explaining 75.3%, 8.6%, and 3.3% and 72.5%, 9.6%, and 5.3% of variation in the total cohort and subsample, respectively. Neither of the temporal patterns was significantly associated with the two outcome measures.
Acknowledging that sudden, large changes in fetal activity may be underreported in FM charts, our study showed that the temporal FM counting patterns in the two weeks preceding DFM-related consultation contributed little to identify clinically important changes in perceived FM. It thus provides insufficient information for giving detailed advice to women on when to contact health care providers. The importance of qualitative features of maternally perceived DFM should be further explored.
PMCID: PMC3844562  PMID: 24007565
Decreased fetal movement; Fetal movement counting; Fetal movement chart; Kick chart; Kick counting; Fetal monitoring; Fetal compromise; Wavelet principal component analysis
2.  Temporal patterns in count-to-ten fetal movement charts and their associations with pregnancy characteristics: a prospective cohort study 
Fetal movement counting has long been suggested as a screening tool to identify impaired placental function. However, quantitative limits for decreased fetal movement perform poorly for screening purposes, indicating the need for methodological refinement. We aimed to identify the main individual temporal patterns in fetal movement counting charts, and explore their associations with pregnancy characteristics.
In a population-based prospective cohort in Norway, 2009–2011, women with singleton pregnancies counted fetal movements daily from pregnancy week 24 until delivery using a modified "count-to-ten” procedure. To account for intra-woman correlation of observations, we used functional data analysis and corresponding functional principal component analysis to identify the main individual temporal patterns in fetal movement count data. The temporal patterns are described by continuous functional principal component (FPC) curves, with an individual score on each FPC for each woman. These scores were later used as outcome variables in multivariable linear regression analyses, with pregnancy characteristics as explanatory variables.
Fetal movement charts from 1086 pregnancies were included. Three FPC curves explained almost 99% of the variation in the temporal data, with the first FPC, representing the individual overall counting time, accounting for 91% alone. There were several statistically significant associations between the FPCs and various pregnancy characteristics. However, the effects were small and of limited clinical value.
This statistical approach for analyzing fetal movement counting data successfully captured clinically meaningful individual temporal patterns and how these patterns vary between women. Maternal body mass index, gestational age and placental site explained little of the variation in the temporal fetal movement counting patterns. Thus, a perceived decrease in fetal movement should not be attributed to a woman’s basic pregnancy characteristics, but assessed as a potential marker of risk.
PMCID: PMC3542088  PMID: 23126608
Fetal movement; Kick counting; Decreased fetal movement; Functional data analysis; Principal components; Temporal pattern
3.  Correction: Reduction of late stillbirth with the introduction of fetal movement information and guidelines - a clinical quality improvement 
We have performed a full cross-validation of this clinical Femina data collection against the routinely collected data of the Medical Birth Registry of Norway to validate the estimates of reduced mortality in the total population. The original estimate of fewer deaths during the intervention with OR 0.7 remains virtually unchanged for the original data collection.
The validation procedures revealed inaccuracies in data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway for a partial comparison with mortality outside the study area, and we here correct this comparison. We present new, corrected and cross-validated data. Despite comparability issues, the most robust and cross-validated estimates confirm similar estimates of reduced mortality during the quality improvement intervention.
PMCID: PMC2941480
4.  Making stillbirths count, making numbers talk - Issues in data collection for stillbirths 
Stillbirths need to count. They constitute the majority of the world's perinatal deaths and yet, they are largely invisible. Simply counting stillbirths is only the first step in analysis and prevention. From a public health perspective, there is a need for information on timing and circumstances of death, associated conditions and underlying causes, and availability and quality of care. This information will guide efforts to prevent stillbirths and improve quality of care.
In this report, we assess how different definitions and limits in registration affect data capture, and we discuss the specific challenges of stillbirth registration, with emphasis on implementation. We identify what data need to be captured, we suggest a dataset to cover core needs in registration and analysis of the different categories of stillbirths with causes and quality indicators, and we illustrate the experience in stillbirth registration from different cultural settings. Finally, we point out gaps that need attention in the International Classification of Diseases and review the qualities of alternative systems that have been tested in low- and middle-income settings.
Obtaining high-quality data will require consistent definitions for stillbirths, systematic population-based registration, better tools for surveys and verbal autopsies, capacity building and training in procedures to identify causes of death, locally adapted quality indicators, improved classification systems, and effective registration and reporting systems.
PMCID: PMC2805601  PMID: 20017922
5.  Reduction of late stillbirth with the introduction of fetal movement information and guidelines – a clinical quality improvement 
Women experiencing decreased fetal movements (DFM) are at increased risk of adverse outcomes, including stillbirth. Fourteen delivery units in Norway registered all cases of DFM in a population-based quality assessment. We found that information to women and management of DFM varied significantly between hospitals. We intended to examine two cohorts of women with DFM before and during two consensus-based interventions aiming to improve care through: 1) written information to women about fetal activity and DFM, including an invitation to monitor fetal movements, 2) guidelines for management of DFM for health-care professionals.
All singleton third trimester pregnancies presenting with a perception of DFM were registered, and outcomes collected independently at all 14 hospitals. The quality assessment period included April 2005 through October 2005, and the two interventions were implemented from November 2005 through March 2007. The baseline versus intervention cohorts included: 19,407 versus 46,143 births and 1215 versus 3038 women with DFM, respectively.
Reports of DFM did not increase during the intervention. The stillbirth rate among women with DFM fell during the intervention: 4.2% vs. 2.4%, (OR 0.51 95% CI 0.32–0.81), and 3.0/1000 versus 2.0/1000 in the overall study population (OR 0.67 95% CI 0.48–0.93). There was no increase in the rates of preterm births, fetal growth restriction, transfers to neonatal care or severe neonatal depression among women with DFM during the intervention. The use of ultrasound in management increased, while additional follow up visits and admissions for induction were reduced.
Improved management of DFM and uniform information to women is associated with fewer stillbirths.
PMCID: PMC2734741  PMID: 19624847
6.  An evaluation of classification systems for stillbirth 
Audit and classification of stillbirths is an essential part of clinical practice and a crucial step towards stillbirth prevention. Due to the limitations of the ICD system and lack of an international approach to an acceptable solution, numerous disparate classification systems have emerged. We assessed the performance of six contemporary systems to inform the development of an internationally accepted approach.
We evaluated the following systems: Amended Aberdeen, Extended Wigglesworth; PSANZ-PDC, ReCoDe, Tulip and CODAC. Nine teams from 7 countries applied the classification systems to cohorts of stillbirths from their regions using 857 stillbirth cases. The main outcome measures were: the ability to retain the important information about the death using the InfoKeep rating; the ease of use according to the Ease rating (both measures used a five-point scale with a score <2 considered unsatisfactory); inter-observer agreement and the proportion of unexplained stillbirths. A randomly selected subset of 100 stillbirths was used to assess inter-observer agreement.
InfoKeep scores were significantly different across the classifications (p ≤ 0.01) due to low scores for Wigglesworth and Aberdeen. CODAC received the highest mean (SD) score of 3.40 (0.73) followed by PSANZ-PDC, ReCoDe and Tulip [2.77 (1.00), 2.36 (1.21), 1.92 (1.24) respectively]. Wigglesworth and Aberdeen resulted in a high proportion of unexplained stillbirths and CODAC and Tulip the lowest. While Ease scores were different (p ≤ 0.01), all systems received satisfactory scores; CODAC received the highest score. Aberdeen and Wigglesworth showed poor agreement with kappas of 0.35 and 0.25 respectively. Tulip performed best with a kappa of 0.74. The remainder had good to fair agreement.
The Extended Wigglesworth and Amended Aberdeen systems cannot be recommended for classification of stillbirths. Overall, CODAC performed best with PSANZ-PDC and ReCoDe performing well. Tulip was shown to have the best agreement and a low proportion of unexplained stillbirths. The virtues of these systems need to be considered in the development of an international solution to classification of stillbirths. Further studies are required on the performance of classification systems in the context of developing countries. Suboptimal agreement highlights the importance of instituting measures to ensure consistency for any classification system.
PMCID: PMC2706223  PMID: 19538759
7.  Causes of death and associated conditions (Codac) – a utilitarian approach to the classification of perinatal deaths 
A carefully classified dataset of perinatal mortality will retain the most significant information on the causes of death. Such information is needed for health care policy development, surveillance and international comparisons, clinical services and research. For comparability purposes, we propose a classification system that could serve all these needs, and be applicable in both developing and developed countries. It is developed to adhere to basic concepts of underlying cause in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), although gaps in ICD prevent classification of perinatal deaths solely on existing ICD codes.
We tested the Causes of Death and Associated Conditions (Codac) classification for perinatal deaths in seven populations, including two developing country settings. We identified areas of potential improvements in the ability to retain existing information, ease of use and inter-rater agreement. After revisions to address these issues we propose Version II of Codac with detailed coding instructions.
The ten main categories of Codac consist of three key contributors to global perinatal mortality (intrapartum events, infections and congenital anomalies), two crucial aspects of perinatal mortality (unknown causes of death and termination of pregnancy), a clear distinction of conditions relevant only to the neonatal period and the remaining conditions are arranged in the four anatomical compartments (fetal, cord, placental and maternal).
For more detail there are 94 subcategories, further specified in 577 categories in the full version. Codac is designed to accommodate both the main cause of death as well as two associated conditions. We suggest reporting not only the main cause of death, but also the associated relevant conditions so that scenarios of combined conditions and events are captured.
The appropriately applied Codac system promises to better manage information on causes of perinatal deaths, the conditions associated with them, and the most common clinical scenarios for future study and comparisons.
PMCID: PMC2706222  PMID: 19515228

Results 1-7 (7)