Atypical general movements in the general population: Prevalence over the last 15 years and associated factors

Ying-Chin Wu, Hylco Bouwstra, Kirsten Heineman, Mijna Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aim To determine the prevalence of atypical general movements (GMs) in the general population, to examine its time trend and associated factors.

Methods Participants consisted of 300 infants born in 2016-2018 (current cohort; gestational age 39.4 weeks (27-42); 162 boys), representative of the Dutch population. GMs were assessed at 2-4 months corrected age in terms of GM-complexity (definitely abnormal (DA) or not) and fidgety movements (present or absent). GM-complexity data from a cohort of 455 Dutch infants born in 2001-2002 were used to investigate the time trend.

Results In the current cohort, 10 infants (3%) showed DA GM-complexity and 8 (3%) absent fidgety movements. Only one infant had both GM-impairments (0.3%). The prevalence of DA GM-complexity did not differ from that in the 2001-2002 cohort (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.47 [0.53, 4.06]). DA GM-complexity was associated with maternal smoking (adjusted OR = 3.59 [1.56, 8.28]) and marginally with prematurity (adjusted OR = 2.78 [1.00, 7.74]); absence of fidgety movements was curvilinearly associated with assessment age only (OR = 1.06 [1.01, 1.12]).

Conclusion In the general population, the prevalence of DA GM-complexity and absent fidgety movements is 3%. The finding that they rarely co-occur and are associated with different factors indicates that GM-assessment needs to address both aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2762-2769
Number of pages8
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number12
Early online date26-Apr-2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020


  • general movements
  • general population
  • neurological function
  • prevalence
  • risk factors
  • BORN

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