My baby’s movements
You should start to feel your baby move somewhere between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. If this is your first baby, you might not feel movements until after 20 weeks.
The movements can feel like a gentle swirling or fluttering. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel kicks, rolls and jerky movements.
There is no specific number of movements that is considered normal. Instead we advise that you take note of baby’s pattern of movements, for example the times your baby tends to move throughout the day.
You will likely feel your baby’s movements increase until about 32 weeks and then the pattern should stay the same until your baby is born. Your baby will also have sleep periods that mostly last between 20 and 90 minutes. Babies often don’t move during sleep periods.
Why are my baby’s movements important?
Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well. The important thing is to get to know your baby’s usual movements from day to day as not every baby is the same.
What should I do if I am worried about my baby’s movements?
If your baby is moving less than usual or you cannot feel your baby moving any more do not wait until the next day, please call the Pregnancy Assessment Unit (PAU) or your community midwife straight away.
Between 16 weeks pregnant and 25 weeks and 6 days pregnant your community midwife can assess your baby’s heartbeat within a clinic setting or at your home.
From 26 weeks onwards, you can call the Pregnancy Assessment Unit via the number below. Extended monitoring of your baby is required by CTG and a full antenatal check. Please note the pregnancy assessment unit is open 24 hours per day.
Pregnancy Assessment Unit
Please do not use hand held monitors or phone apps to self-assess your baby. Health professionals receive extensive training in order to recognise assuring and non-reassuring heart sounds.
Useful sources of information and national guidance
Northern England Clinical Networks (2016) on Reduced Fetal Movements, An update for health professionals
COCHRANE SYSTEMATIC REVIEW: Management of reported decreased fetal movements for improving pregnancy outcomes (Review). Hofmeyr GJ, Novikova N
NICE (2008): ANTENATAL CARE: Routine care for the healthy pregnant woman
RCOG (2011): GREEN TOP GUIDELINE No. 57; Reduced Fetal Movement
Shared decision making
At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Maternity Unit, we advocate a shared decision making approach to all decisions made by our patients. This leaflet aims to give you additional information and to act as a point of reference following a discussion with your obstetrician or midwife. If you are asked to make a decision about your own care please make sure you have asked all the questions you need to ask and are given the appropriate time to do so. Some questions you might want to as could be;
- What are my options?
- What are the pros and cons of each option?
- Who will support me making the decision that is the right one for me
If you have any additional queries please contact:
The Pregnancy Assessment Unit
Any personal information is kept confidential. There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.
In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics.
Further information is available via Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust website or by contacting the Data Protection Officer by telephone on 0191 445 8418 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats upon request