Background: The quality of general movements (GMs) is a sensitive tool to measure neurodevelopmental condition in early infancy. No information is available on prevalence rates of abnormal GMs in the general population.
Objective: To assess the prevalence of abnormal GMs in the general population of three-month-old infants and to evaluate the association of abnormal GM quality with medical and social risk factors.
Method: We recruited 535 infants in six well baby clinics in The Netherlands. GMs were video-taped at the corrected age of 2 to 4 months. GM-quality was assessed by two persons unaware of the infant's history. GM-quality was classified as normal optimal (NO), normal suboptimal (SO), mildly abnormal (MA) and definitely abnormal (DA). Only the last category implies clinically relevant dysfunction. Social, perinatal and postnatal characteristics were collected and their association with DA and abnormal (DA + MA) GMs were evaluated by means of univariate and logistic regression analyses.
Results: GM-quality Could be assessed reliably in 455 infants (85%). Seventeen infants (3.7%) showed DA GMs and 113 (25%) MA GMs. DA GMs were associated with preterm birth and smoking during pregnancy; abnormal (DA + MA) GMs with preterm birth, a relatively low level of paternal profession and urban living conditions. These factors explained between 3% and 7% of variance.
Conclusion: The study indicates that the prevalence of definitely abnormal GMs in the general population is 3.7% and that of mildly abnormal GMs 25%. The clinically relevant definitely abnormal GMs were associated with preterm birth and smoking during pregnancy. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.