Call Maternity Assessment Unit on 0191 282 5748 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
Please do not wait to call us.
It is important you call as soon as you notice a change, even if it is in the middle of the night.
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 vigorously 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 the MAU as soon as possible whatever gestation you are (beyond 16 weeks) is crucial. It could potentially save your baby’s life.
Specialist midwives are on hand 24/7. If you attend MAU for reduced fetal movements electronic fetal monitoring will be performed if you are 24 weeks pregnant or more, to assess your baby’s wellbeing. At 16- 24 weeks the midwives will use a Sonicaid (the hand held listening device used by your community midwife) to assess your baby’s heartbeat.
I was told that having a cold drink 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, call the MAU.
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 MAU.
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 MAU for advice.