Would you notice if…
… your water pressure changed?
… your bus stopped moving?
… your phone slowed down?
… your baby’s movements slowed down?
You will start to feel your baby move between weeks 16 and 24 of your pregnancy.
There is no set number of normal movements.
It is important to be aware of your own baby’s movements.
Babies do not move less towards the end of pregnancy.
If your baby’s movements slows down, it is a sign that they might not be well.
Contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately. DO NOT put off calling until the next day.
Trust your instincts. You are not ‘wasting time’
Please do not wait to contact us if you have noticed a change in your baby’s movements.
It is important you call as soon as you notice a change, even if it is in the middle of the night.
Call Maternity Assessment Unit immediately on 01642 624239 if:
- You haven’t felt your baby move by 24 weeks
- Your baby isn’t moving as much as usual
- You cannot feel your baby moving
- You have noticed a change in the pattern of your baby’s movement
What are fetal movements?
As your pregnancy progresses beyond 20 weeks, you should start to feel ‘butterflies’ or ‘fluttering’ in your abdomen. Some women may even feel these small movements from 16 weeks.
These are known as Fetal Movements (FM’s) and as your baby develops further, you should be able to feel these movements more in the form of kicks or jolts. By 24 weeks these movements should have developed a regular pattern and the number of movements tends to escalate until approximately 32 weeks.
Regular movements should be felt throughout the remainder of your pregnancy until you give birth.
How much should my baby move?
Every baby is different in how frequently they move, which is why we do not recommend you simply ‘count your kicks’. Take time to understand your baby’s pattern of movement, you may notice that your baby is more active at specific points during a 24 hour period.
Babies do not move less during the later stages of pregnancy due to lack of space. If something doesn’t feel right, call the Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU) and discuss your concerns with a midwife.
What does it mean if my baby isn’t moving as much as usual?
Regular, strong fetal movements are the best indicator of your baby’s wellbeing and sometimes, a drop in these movements can indicate that your baby is not coping as well as we would like. The reasons for this are numerous, and not all are sinister. However, contacting your community midwife or the maternity assessment unit as soon as possible is crucial. It could potentially save your baby’s life.
At 16- 24 weeks the midwives will use a Sonicaid (the hand held listening device) to assess your baby’s heartbeat. If you attend maternity assessment unit for reduced fetal movements electronic fetal monitoring will be performed from 28 weeks pregnant or more, to assess your baby’s wellbeing.
Frequently asked questions
I was told that having a cold drink or eating something sweet would wake my baby up. Is this right?
No, your baby should be moving on their own without any external stimulation. If you have any concerns about your baby’s movements, please contact the maternity assessment unit.
Is it true I might not feel my baby move as much because my placenta is at the front?
The location of your placenta should not affect the amount of fetal movements you feel. Your baby should have a recognisable pattern of movements that feel familiar to you. If this changes, call the maternity assessment unit.
Can I listen to my baby’s heartbeat with a home Doppler (home listening kit)?
No. It is essential not to use home listening kits to check up on your baby, especially when you feel there may be reduced movements. Listening to your baby’s heartbeat should only ever be done by a trained professional as it is possible to confuse your pulse for your baby’s heartbeat. This can provide false reassurance and could potentially put both of you at risk.
My baby moves a lot – is this normal?
Continue to monitor your baby’s movements and establish their normal pattern. Excessive fetal movements are unlikely to be concerning. However, if there is a sudden change in this pattern, or fewer movements than usual, call the maternity assessment unit for advice.
Maternity Assessment Unit
Contact number: 01642 624239