Fetal Movements

When the baby starts to move inside you for the first time it is quite an “odd” feeling. Many women anecdotally report that they did not know at first that they were foetal movements. Many say they felt it as fluttering at first or even did not know if it was gas!

This is very normal ,especially in the first pregnancy. Most women, however, begin to feel fetal movements from the 16th to the 24th week of pregnancy. These movements, when they become more distinct, can be described in various ways, such as fluttering, kicking, swishing or twisting. 

The way your baby moves may change as your pregnancy progresses. It is expected that by the 32nd week the movements are increasing and then remain almost at a stable level until you give birth. You know your baby and what is normal for them.

Myths about foetal movements

  • It is NOT the case that babies move less at the end of pregnancy because they have less “space”
  • It is NOT the case that babies move less during labour

The reduction or even the significant change of fetal movements can be an important indication that something is wrong with the baby. About half of women who had intrauterine fetal death found reduced or non existent fetal movements prior to the event. 

For this reason it is very important if there is any reduction in movements, you should immediately contact your maternity unit or your obstetrician / gynaecologist as they have the ability to monitor the fetus with a special machine called a cardiotocograph. 

In the context of an outpatient clinic, the midwife and obstetrician have the ability to determine the heartbeat, but in case of concern for the fetus it is very important to perform a cardiotocograph.

Do not wait until the next day. 

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