What to do if your baby’s movements change in pregnancy.
Since launch we have worked with the amazing charity Kicks Count to highlight to mums the importance of monitoring their babies’ movements in pregnancy. Here the charity tells us what you can expect from your baby’s movements and what to do if you think they aren’t moving as much as usual.
A few important facts…
- It is NOT true that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy
- You should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour & whilst you are in labour too
- Get to know your baby’s normal pattern of movement
- Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well.
When should I start to feel movement in pregnancy?
Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 & 24 weeks of pregnancy. A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses.
How often should my baby move?
There is no set number of normal movements. Your baby will have their own pattern of movements that you should get to know. From 16 - 24 weeks on you should feel the baby move more and more up until 32 weeks then stay roughly the same until you give birth. It is not true that babies move less at the end of pregnancy.
How often should my baby move?
All babies are different! There is no set number of normal movements.
From 16 – 24 weeks on you should feel your baby move more and more until 32 weeks. After 32 weeks, movements should stay roughly the same until you give birth.
It's important to get to know your baby's regular pattern of movement. The Kicks Count Wristbands can help you do this.
What shall I do if I notice reduced movement?
If you think your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped, contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately. (It is staffed 24 hours, 7 days a week). Do not put off calling until the next day to see what happens.
Do not worry about phoning, it is important for your doctors and midwives to know if your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped.
Do not use any hand-held monitors, dopplers, or phone apps to check your baby’s heartbeat. Even if you detect a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.
Should I prompt my baby to move?
As it can cause a delay in getting medical advice, trying to make your baby move isn't recommended. If your baby's movements are concerning you, always call your maternity unit.
What if my baby’s movements are reduced again?
If, after your check up, you are still not happy with your baby’s movements, you must contact either your midwife or maternity unit straight away, even if everything was normal last time. Never hesitate to contact your midwife or the maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this happens.
Why are my baby’s movements important?
A reduction in a baby’s movements can sometimes be an important warning sign that a baby is unwell. Over half of women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped.
If my baby's movements change does it mean my baby is definitely unwell?
Not at all. Checks by medical professionals usually find that everything is OK. Most women who report one or less episodes of reduced movement go on to have a healthy baby and straightforward pregnancy.
However, it's important to be checked to make sure the change isn't because your baby is one of the few that are unwell. Reporting concerns about your baby's movements could save their life.
Why shouldn’t I use a home doppler?
If you saw someone collapsed in the street would you check their pulse and walk away? Or would you call an ambulance? The same goes for your baby, if you notice a change in your baby’s regular pattern of movement, they could be unwell. Do not take the presence of a heartbeat that all is ok. If your baby is unwell or in distress the only time something can be done is when there is a heartbeat. When there is no heartbeat it is too late. If you notice a change in your babies regular pattern of movement call your midwife. Do not use your home doppler for reassurance.
How can a Kicks Count wristband help me?
The Kicks Count wristbands can help you track movement episodes, making it easier to recognise a reduction or change.
Your baby's movements are a reassuring sign that they are well. It’s key to remember that there is no set amount of movement that all mums should feel. All babies are different. The amount of movement you feel will vary from your other pregnancies and other people.
When you feel an episode of movement you move the plastic slider to the next number on the band. You are not aiming to get to 10 sessions, that is very outdated advice. Some mums will go around the band more than once in a day, others may only have a few sessions. This is all about your baby. Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy you should be moving the band the same amount of times every day. But, this varies, a pattern may establish a little earlier or later for you.
You can also download the FREE Kicks Count app to help you track your baby’s movements over time.
What exactly is an ‘episode of movement’
Mums all perceive movement differently, meaning it isn't possible to specify what makes up a session for everyone. Essentially, it's any length of time your baby is awake and moving before going back to sleep. The key is to be consistent.
Points of reference are helpful too. Does your baby move more in the morning? Do they have a party as you get comfortable in bed? Do they get excited when you eat? Make a mental note, it helps you get to know your baby.
Kicks Count encourages anyone with any concerns or questions regarding their pregnancy to contact their healthcare provider being their Community Midwife, GP, Hospital Maternity Ward or Consultant Obstetrician. All information provided has been written as a guide only
Kicks Count is a UK registered charity aiming to empower mums-to-be with knowledge about their baby’s movements. By encouraging mums to monitor their baby’s movements and report any change, they aim to lower the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. For more detailed information please visit the Kicks Count Website