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Observations of Prechtl's General Movements (In the outpatient Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow Up Clinic)

Patient information A-Z

Why do we want to observe your baby's general movements?

In the first few months of life your baby shows particular spontaneous movements called “general movements.” You can see these when a baby is lying on their back, calm, alert and moving by themselves without any distractions.

These movements can be seen in all babies before and after birth up to 20 weeks of age from their due date (corrected age).

We would like to assess your baby's general movements as they are in one or more of the following groups that require additional monitoring of their development:

  • Born prematurely (less than 32 weeks gestation)
  • Very low birth weight
  • Neurological event at birth

We know that there is an increased risk that babies in the above groups might have problems with their development.

Why do we want to assess General Movements?

General movements can provide important information about your baby`s development to allow us to identify which type of support your baby may need and to plan their future care. By identifying any developmental problems early, we can refer you and your baby to specialist services such as Physiotherapy and/or Occupational Therapy as early as possible. This is known as early intervention, which helps to promote the best possible outcome for your child.

Your baby may have already had a video of their movements taken while on the neonatal unit. This video needs to be repeated as baby`s general movements change as they get older. The type of movements seen between 12 and 20 weeks from their due date (corrected age) enables us to more reliably identify any potential developmental problems.

What do we need your consent for?

The law requires us to have your consent. We will give you a consent form which we will discuss with you regarding your consent to video your baby`s movements lying on their back in their nappy and/or short sleeved vest on the therapy mat.

We will aim to take the video when your baby is between 12 and 20 weeks from their due date (corrected age).

The video will last about 5-10 minutes and will be taken using a camcorder positioned above the therapy mat so that their whole body can be seen.

As we want to observe their spontaneous movement, before starting the video we will remove any toys and dummies and during the filming we will try not to play or talk with them.

Ideally your baby should be awake, calm and alert. If they become upset we will provide comfort to your baby. If they do not settle or are too distracted then we will stop filming and repeat the filming at another more appropriate time.

What will we do with the videos?

The videos will be stored on a secure departmental drive and deleted from the camcorder so they are stored securely following the Trust policy.

The videos will be reviewed by professionals trained in the use of this tool. We will discuss with you the findings of the videos within 4 weeks of it being taken.

We are happy to discuss the information in this leaflet with you if you require any further details.

Contacts/Further information

For further information about this assessment or if you have any questions or concerns please email Catherine Ward or email Jane Fenton-Smith or telephone 01223 216807.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151