- First fetal movements can be recognized between 16 and 20 weeks.
- The baby establishes a movement pattern as pregnancy progresses
- It is important to recognize the movement pattern
- Less movements from the regular pattern should be followed up
- Monitoring movements helps avoid stillbirths
Every mother-to-be waits for that moment to feel the movements of her baby. It is a moment of joy to experience that a little one is living inside. The kicks and hiccups make you feel more of the baby inside, and those movements are always important to evaluate the fetal development.
When it comes to high-risk pregnancy, the doctors usually recommend monitoring the fetal movements to avoid stillbirths. Usually, the pregnant woman can recognize the kicks for the first time or ‘quickening’ during 16 to 20th week of pregnancy. In primigravidas (being pregnant for the first time) the perceptions of the fetal movements are often late. The first fetal movement can be an incredible experience to the future mother. It takes time to feel it for another person by keeping the hands on the belly.
According to American Pregnancy Association, the fetal movement starts in 7 to 8 weeks of gestation, but it usually gets recognized by the mother during 16 to 20 weeks. The movements will be frequent from 9 pm to 1 am as the mother sleeps and glucose level remains low.
The movements can be felt more as soon as you had meals or resting after a workout. But it is difficult to say when you have reduced fetal movements.
First of all, the mother should monitor the fetal movement regularly and understand the routine. In some, the baby becomes active in the early morning or some time after lunch time. Once the baby’s routine has been recognized, if there are any changes to this, it should be noted.
On an average, ten distinct fetal movements can be felt in two hours of time. It can vary individually, but significant reduction in this should be consulted with the midwife or health care provider.
Why are the fetal movements important?
Various studies reveal that monitoring the fetal movement can indicate any complications during pregnancy including stillbirths. According to Kickscount, a UK based non-profit organization, over 50 percent women who had stillbirths reported abnormal fetal movement or less fetal movement earlier. Studies suggest that the lack of importance given by the midwife or healthcare provider to the noted less fetal movement by the pregnant woman was a risk factor for stillbirths.
Experts believe that one-third of stillbirths could be prevented by monitoring the fetal movement properly and taking enough care based on that.
Besides, monitoring the movements, the kicks and the roll-overs found to increase the bond between the mother and the baby. It gives time for the mother to converse with the baby mentally. It makes her feel better and reduces the stress.
How to monitor the fetal movement?
Identify the appropriate time every day when the baby inside is awake and active. Place your hands on the belly and recognize ten distinct movements. Record the first movement and its time. Count the following movements and record the time of the tenth movement. Repeat it every day.
Mobile applications are also available these days to track the fetal movements. It helps you keep the data more accurate and can be done anywhere and anytime.
What Causes Less Fetal Movements?
- Sleep cycles of the baby
- Stress and anxiety in the mother
- Premature rupture of membrane
- Placental abruption
- Lack of nutrients
- Low amniotic fluid
All the above said reasons could cause reduced fetal movements. So, if you find anything abnormal in the usual routine of movements, follow it up and talk to your doctor. But in some cases, there won’t be anything to be worried. Some days the baby may move less, while some days you feel increased movement. It is totally dependent on the baby inside.