Researchers have found that monitoring fetal movements in pregnant women can help in detecting fetal musculoskeletal malformations.
The research team with Imperial College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital analysed MRI scans, which allowed them to create computerised models of fetal movement.
The models produced animated representations of a fetus inside the uterus as it stretched, kicked and moved around, allowing the team to track how much force the fetus exerted.
The study found that the stresses caused by forceful kicking is like a form of exercise for the fetus and can help with bone and joint development. Abnormal or absent movements were implicated in multiple congenital disorders.