Decreased Foetal Movement – Causes, Diagnosis and Measures

You feel your baby’s presence inside you by your baby’s movements only. In the initial stages, the movements may be more pronounced, and you may feel them very often. As you approach towards you labour and delivery, you may notice a decreasing trend in your baby’s movements. However, when should you be worried, as far as your baby’s movements are concerned? Are your baby’s decreased movements, a reason for you to worry about or is it extremely normal? Let us learn about various facts on a baby’s movements in this article.

When Do You Usually Feel Your Baby Movement in Pregnancy?

In most cases, you may start feeling your baby’s movements as you enter into your fourth month of pregnancy or around 16 weeks. The initial movements of your baby may feel more like a flutter than prominent movements. Your baby may keep changing the intensity of his movements all through the pregnancy.

Is a Slowdown in Foetal Movement Normal?

Yes, it is very normal for your baby to slow down or you may notice decreased foetal movement in 37 weeks or your third trimester onwards. This is simply because there is lesser space for your baby to move. The way your baby may be used to doing all twisting and turning, may no longer possible once your baby becomes big. In most cases, your baby may take a head down position towards the end of your third trimester and may stay in position until birth. Any decreased movement towards the end of your pregnancy means your baby is prepping up for birth.

What Causes Decreased Baby Movement while Pregnant?

The number of baby movements that you may experience may depend on the amniotic fluid, your built or your body fat percentage. When your baby enters the third trimester, he may develop a sleep-wakeup pattern. This pattern may stretch from 45 minutes to an hour, which means when your baby may be asleep; you may not feel any movements. Also, the movements that your baby may make while breathing or when he may experience hiccups, may not be that prominent too. As you enter your 38 weeks of pregnancy, in most cases your baby may engage his head in your pelvis and prepare for birth, which may lead to fewer movements too.

How to Keep Track of Baby Kicks during Pregnancy?

If you are not able to establish whether or not your baby may be moving less frequently, we suggest that you keep track of your baby’s movement to see if everything is okay. Sit quietly in a relaxed place and try calculating your baby’s movements. At around 32 to 35 weeks of gestation, your baby may make approximately 10 movements in a span of two hours. However, if you notice any change in your baby’s movements or your baby’s movements is irregular, you should report to your OB/GYN at once.

How Does the Doctor Diagnose Reduced Foetal Movement?

If your doctor feels that your observations regarding the movement of your baby may be a cause of concern, your doctor may call you to the clinic for the further check-up. In order to conduct a detailed examination and observe the foetal movements, your doctor may recommend NST or non-stress test to check the heart rate on your unborn baby. In case, your doctor smells something fishy; you may be admitted in the hospital for a day or two for close observation, on the other hand, if nothing gets detected in the NST, you may be sent back home and may be told to monitor your baby’s movements at home.

What to Do if the Foetal Movement is Weak?

If there are reduced or weaker foetal movements, your course of treatment may depend on the stage of pregnancy you may be in.

Less than 24 Weeks Pregnant

  • If by 24 weeks of pregnancy, you do not feel any foetal movements, you should report this to your gynaecologist.
  • Your baby’s heart rate may be monitored.
  • You may need to undergo an ultrasound scan.

Between 24 and 28 weeks

  • Your blood pressure or BP may be monitored.
  • Your baby’s heartbeat may be checked.
  • You may be required to undergo a urine test, to establish any traces of protein.
  • Your baby’s size may be measured by measuring the size of your baby bump.

Over 28 weeks

  • Your OB/GYN may ask you about your baby’s movements
  • Your thorough antenatal check-up may be done, which may include monitoring your baby’s heartbeat and measuring your baby’s size.
  • Your doctor may make use of CTG to check the foetal heartbeat.
  • Your doctor may recommend for an ultrasound sound scan in case you are a high-risk pregnancy, or the size of your baby is smaller than usual.

What if there is a Decrease in Your Unborn Baby Movements Again?

Once you back home and you notice reduced or fewer movements, you should reach out to your midwife or your maternity clinic. Do not worry; you are not causing any nuisance to anybody by calling up time and again to report your baby’s reduced movements. This is a complicated matter, and thus you may be required to report to your doctor promptly.

Keep track of your baby’s movements and if you feel anything may be suspicious, contact your maternity home or get in touch with your midwife. In most cases, fewer movements may indicate that you are closer to your delivery. Keep your cool and prepare for your baby’s delivery.

Also Read: Fetal Movement – Feeling Your Baby Kick