KICKS COUNT – THEY REALLY DO!
When My Expert Midwife asked if I’d like to write a guest blog about baby movements, I was really thrilled. When any of the team at Kicks Count are given the opportunity to talk about baby movements, passion often engulfs us, so I’ll be doing my very best to keep to the key points! Firstly, who are Kicks Count?
Kicks Count was founded almost 8 years ago, following the stillbirth of a precious little girl, Chloe Joan Wyatt. Chloe’s mum wasn’t aware of what her reduction in movement could mean and didn’t seek help when Chloe went unusually quiet. Anyone who has endured the devastation of a stillbirth will tell you how soul-destroying it is for everyone involved. Chloe’s death was the catalyst for incredible change and Kicks Count have been zealously campaigning about the importance of baby movements ever since, with the key aim to reduce the higher-than-we’d-like stillbirth rate in the UK.
Baby movements are really wonderful - feeling those first flutters is a magical experience. Most mums will remember the first time that someone else felt their baby move from the outside, and the time that baby gave out such a big whack it took their breath away! As well as being an incredible way to bond, baby movements are the best indicator that mums-to-be have that their baby is happy and healthy in the womb.
There are a few different things can cause baby to move less and most women and babies are checked over and found to be absolutely fine. Though, if a baby is poorly, they may conserve energy by slowing down their movements, and this can be the first sign of a problem. If concerns with movement are reported in good time, this gives mums and their maternity team a window of opportunity to deliver babies that are found to be struggling - this alone is why baby wriggles are so incredibly important and why it’s vital that the baby being in trouble is ruled out each time mum isn’t happy with movement.
With this all being said, what are the key points to remember?
- There is no set number of normal movements that all mums should be feeling.
- Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.
- A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll.
- Your baby will have their own pattern of movements that you should get to know.
- From 16-24 weeks on you should feel the baby move more and more up until 32 weeks then stay roughly the same until you give birth.
- The TYPE of movement may change as pregnancy progresses, but not the regularity.
- It is NOT TRUE that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy or run out of room to move.
- You should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour and whilst you are in labour too.
You can find more information on all of this here: http://www.kickscount.org.uk/mums/your-babys-movements/
There are three other key points I’d like to put a little more focus on, the first one being instinct.
Instinct is such an incredibly powerful tool, and mums should always trust in it. If you feel that something just isn’t right, even if you aren’t really sure what, always speak to your midwife or maternity unit about it - nobody knows your body and baby like you do.
The next thing is home dopplers – please, please don’t reassure yourself with one of these devices if you are worried about your baby. I really could talk for hours about why (it may require a separate blog!) but, in a nutshell, dopplers are a medical device and training is required to know what exactly is being listened to. Not only does it take a qualified ear to know the subtle difference between the sound of a placenta, mums heart and the baby, midwives also listen for subtle abnormalities, not just the presence of a heartbeat itself. You can find more information on why mums should ditch the doppler here: http://www.kickscount.org.uk/mums/your-babys-movements/why-shouldnt-i-use-a-home-doppler/
Lastly, Kicks Count exists not to scaremonger or fill women with worry, but to empower mums with information and give them the confidence to be their baby’s advocate. If your baby’s movements don’t seem right, it’s so important that mums are assured enough to speak to someone about it. Anybody with a genuine concern is NOT wasting their midwives time, so always speak up for your baby if you’re worried – you’re the only one that can!
To finish, we are delighted to have the invaluable support of My Expert Midwife, who share the same passion about giving mums-to-be important information as we do!