Reduced baby movements after the 24th week of pregnancy

Reduced baby movements 20 weeks and over

You may have first felt movements from your baby before 20 weeks, every pregnancy is different. However, it is not until around 24 weeks that they develop a more regular pattern of movements that you need to be aware.

When you are over 24 weeks we ask you to monitor your baby’s daily movements. Having an active baby is a good sign that your baby is healthy. Every baby is different and their patterns all vary, so get to know what is normal for your baby. 

 It’s important to notice if your baby becomes less active or stops moving. However, it is sometimes difficult to be aware of movements when you are busy, active, just woken up or on your feet for a lot of the day so allow yourself time to sit down and become aware throughout the day. If you are unsure whether your baby’s movement are reduced or not, monitor carefully for 2 hours. If after this time you feel that your baby’s movements are reduced, contact the Maternity Triage Line. If normal movements have been felt continue with routine antenatal care.

As your pregnancy progresses, it is normal for movements to change, from vigorous kicks and punches to less vigorous rolls and squirms as they grow and there is less space, but the frequency usually remains similar.

Contact your maternity unit if

  • You have reduced or absent baby movements 

  • You are worried your baby has been moving less than normal throughout the day. The assessment of baby movements is very individual to each pregnancy. There is not a specific number of movements you need to feel and only you know what is normal for your baby

 DO NOT use a home doppler (handheld monitor such as your midwife uses) to try to check the baby's heartbeat yourself. This is not a reliable way to check your baby's health. Even if you hear a heartbeat, this does not necessarily mean your baby is well. Midwives are trained to be able to do this correctly.

When you stop smoking your baby gets more oxygen and will be healthier. Please speak to your midwife for support with quitting.

Always call your maternity unit if you more than 24 weeks pregnant and you are worried about your baby’s movements.

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