Feeling the first flutters and kicks are a magical part of pregnancy. In’t the old days when all you’d had were a few missed periods and some bloating to give you an indication you had a baby on the way it used to be referred to as ‘quickening’ (literally meaning ‘alive’) and was the first real sign that you had a viable baby in there. As I near 34 weeks, those flutters feel like someone is having an all night rave-a-thon in there. Less delicate, butterfly flutters; think Sid Vicious on a bender.
Movement is a great way for you to know if something is not right. The charity Kicks Count encourage us mums to keep an eye on those kicks, rolls and punches throughout your pregnancy. If you can, keep a record of your baby’s patterns of movement – as your baby gets bigger you’ll notice they will have periods of quiet where they are having a well deserved nap. If you’re ever worried, a few prods or a cold glass of water and a lie down on your side can help to alleviate fears temporarily (but may annoy your baby!). You are looking for the patterns of movements and any changes that might be occurring.
But what if your usually active little mover and shaker has been less than normally active? Kicks Count have the answer.
“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.”
The main thing is to remember you are never, ever being annoying, demanding, a worry wort or the hundreds of other things you might worry about if you need to call your MAU or midwifery service! You should never assume reduced movements are normal because the baby is running out of space, or your bump is small etc. Reduced movements are a sign that something could be amiss. So if you feel them and you worry about them, call the midwife.
Oh, and do NOT rely on a doppler. In fact, Kicks Count (and most medical professionals) would say Ditch the Doppler altogether.
“The most significant risk of using a home doppler is that mums may be falsely reassured when they hear a heartbeat, when actually their baby could be in distress. This could lead to life-threatening delays in seeking medical assistance. The best indicator of fetal wellbeing is always the baby’s movements and this is what we should be focusing on – not these cheap imitations of medical equipment. The most important message we try to get across to pregnant women is that home dopplers are not microphones. They are not amplifying the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. ”
If you have an anterior placenta (whereby the placenta is at the back of the uterus meaning you may have slightly muffled kicks) they also have advice here.
You can download the app free or you can buy a bracelet on which you can record the periods of movement for the day (handy when you have an enthusiastic toddler or active children) by sliding the plastic up the numbers and then reset at the end of the day. They cost £3.75 and all profits go straight back into the Kicks Count charity.