Fetal Heart Rate As A Measure Of Recognition

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Being able to reliably detect fetal heart rate as a measure of recognition, and knowing that fetuses develop good hearing by the third trimester allows many researchers to study fetal response to various aspects of language, beyond just recognizing maternal voice, during this time in pregnancy. The two ways to study fetal response to maternal voice is by observing their movement and heart rate. By monitoring when a fetus is at rest, then observing their movement when introduced to a stimuli, researchers can note patterns of recognition (Decasper et al., 1994; Krueger et al., 2015; Marx & Nagy, 2015). The researchers Krueger et al. (2015) used both methods of measurement to study pregnant mothers in their third trimester. The researchers were interested to know if fetuses would respond differently when hearing their mother’s voice live versus when they hear their mother’s voice in a recording. To test this, mothers recited a nursery rhyme two times daily from 28-34 weeks gestational age. The researchers hypothesized that fetal cardiac response to both recorded and live voice would decelerate, and that fetal movement would vary depending on the format of the passage (Krueger et al., 2015). The fetuses were tested at 34 weeks for changes in heart rate and movement using a fetal monitor. The results of the study showed that fetuses experience a cardiac deceleration when they heard their mother reading the nursery rhyme live, and experienced a cardiac acceleration when they
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