Antenatal tests of fetal welfare and development at age 2 years

A. L. Todd, B. J. Trudinger*, M. J. Cole, G. H. Cooney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Our objective was to examine the outcomes at 2 years of age of fetuses delivered electively before 34 weeks, studied antenatally with two tests of fetal well-being. Study design: Forty-two fetuses from high-risk pregnancies delivered electively by cesarean section before 34 weeks were stratified into normal versus abnormal subgroups with umbilical Doppler flow velocity waveform and fetal heart rate results. Developmental outcome was assessed at 2 years. Two comparison groups were also selected: 40 matched premature controls delivered spontaneously before 34 weeks and 67 normal babies delivered spontaneously at term. Frequency outcome data were tested with χ2 analyses and the remainder with analyses of variance. Results: Within the electively delivered study group poor cognitive progress at 2 years was more strongly associated with an abnormal fetal heart rate result than an abnormal Doppler result. Compared with the premature control and normal term groups, electively delivered fetuses were significantly delayed in growth, cognition, and motor development (p < 0.005). Conclusions: Adverse fetal welfare in a high-risk obstetric sample was associated with poorer outcome at 2 years. However, the whole of the group of fetuses from such high-risk pregnancies showed significant developmental delay compared with normal term children and, more importantly, matched premature infants delivered spontaneously from otherwise uncomplicated pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Doppler
  • early childhood development
  • fetal compromise
  • fetal heart rate
  • high-risk pregnancy


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