My baby’s movements have slowed down

 

When To Call Your MidwifeFetal movements can be anything from a flutter, kick, swish or roll. These can be felt as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy (or even sooner in later pregnancies), but many women don’t feel them until later.

When should I start feeling the baby start moving in.
You may be able to feel the baby move as early as 18 weeks into your pregnancy. If it is your second or third baby, you may feel the movement even earlier. However, baby movements before 28 weeks can be changeable and not have a regular pattern.
This could be because of the baby’s position in the womb or the position of the placenta. It is also likely to be due to the fact the baby is small at this time, and therefore has smaller movements. If you have been on your feet or busy all day, you are also less likely to feel the baby’s movements than when you are resting.
What happens to fetal movements in later pregnancy?
Babies should continue to move normally throughout pregnancy and you should even continue to feel them while you are in labor. As babies get big the movements feel different but they should still follow their usual pattern right up to the end. It is not true that babies ‘slow down’ as labor approaches, but they have less space to move in.
During your pregnancy you should try to be aware of your baby’s movement patterns. If the movements slow down or change it could be a sign that your baby is unwell and you should contact your midwife immediately.
Do I need to count the kicks?
There isn’t enough evidence to say that counting kicks throughout pregnancy helps. It is more important to be aware of the pattern of movements throughout the pregnancy and to seek help if they slow down.
What should I do if I’m not sure whether fetal movements have slowed down?
If you are unsure whether movements are have slowed or changed, you should lie on your left side and focus on the baby’s movements for two hours.
If you do not feel ten or more movements in two hours, you should contact your midwife inmediatly.
What happens if my baby’s movements have slowed down?

If you are unsure whether movements are have slowed or changed, you should lie on your left side and focus on the baby’s movements for two hours.
If you do not feel ten or more movements in two hours, you should contact your midwife immediatly.
Less than 24 weeks pregnant
If by 24 weeks you have never felt your baby move, you should contact your midwife, who will check your baby’s heartbeat. You may have an ultrasound scan and you may be referred to a specialist fetal medicine center (perinatologist) to check your baby’s health.
Between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant
You should contact your midwife immediately. Do not wait until the next day or next appointment.
You will have a full prenatal check-up. If anything is unusual you may have an ultrasound scan to check on your baby.
Over 28 weeks
You will have a full prenatal check-up, your baby’s heart rate will be monitored to reassure you about your baby’s wellbeing.
An ultrasound scan may be arranged if:
• Your womb is smaller than expected
• you have a high risk pregnancy
• the heart rate is normal but you still feel that your baby’s movements are slower or less.
If the movements have slowed down does it mean my b
Fewer movements could mean that your baby is unwell, but usually these checks reveal that all is well. Most women who have experienced one episode of fewer movements have a straightforward pregnancy and healthy baby.

 


Sources
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Reduced fetal movements, Green-top guideline 57, London RCOG, 2011 
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Your baby’s movements in pregnancy: information for you, London RCOG, 2012 

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