Kinematic Comparison on Lower Limb Kicking Action of Fetuses in Different Gestational Weeks: A Pilot Study

Hairong Chen, Yang Song*, Rongrong Xuan*, Qiuli Hu, Julien S. Baker, Yaodong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The fetal movements during different gestational weeks are essential for normal musculoskeletal development. The kinematic characteristics of fetuses with small differences in gestational weeks may be different and important. Ultrasonographic videos of fetal kicking action and plantarflexion action were collected from three healthy pregnant women (24, 27, and 30 gestational weeks) with normal fetal development. The kinematic characteristics, including angular range and angular velocity, were analyzed. These kinematic parameters were measured using simi motion. The final knee angle was found to decrease with progressive gestational weeks. Compared with 24 w, the knee joint angle at 27 w and 30 w was significantly reduced at the end of a kick-type movement (p < 0.01). Except for the mean angular velocity of the knee joint, there were no significant differences in the other conditions. The value at 30 w for mean angular velocity was significantly higher than that at 24 w (p = 0.02). In the ankle joint, no significant differences were observed between different conditions. Therefore, we can conclude that there was no significant difference in the kinematic characteristics of the ankle joint for small gestational age gaps, but there was a significant difference in the knee joint. As the gestation weeks increase, the range of kicking motion tends to decrease. The reason may be that with the increase of gestational weeks, fetal lower limb musculoskeletal development is gradually enhanced; the slower growth rate indicates that development reaches a peak level in weeks 24 to 30.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1057
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • fetal movement
  • kicking action
  • kinematic
  • simi motion
  • ultrasound


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