What is Reduced Movement
We will start this blog by first exploring what ‘reduced movement’ can mean. This may not include yourself or your partner if your pregnancy is younger than 16 weeks, as it’s usually at around 16 weeks that your baby will start to move enough to feel it. However, if you have already felt movements and are familiar with your baby’s movement pattern, then you may be able to identify cases of reduced movement.
Please note: If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, tell your midwife. They’ll check your baby’s heartbeat and movements.
Not all babies move the same, some more than others, but it is important to get to know your baby’s usual movements from day to day.
If your baby is not well, they will not be as active as usual, which means less movement can be a sign of infection or another problem. But don’t panic straight away, we have had 2 events of reduced movement and on both occasions the baby has been fine – just a little bit lazy.
Equally, don’t take my ‘don’t panic’ comment as medical advice – reduced movements should always be taken seriously and investigated.
In a nutshell, reduced movement should be treated as a change or reduction in your babies movements.
If you haven’t concentrated on feeling these sensations, you may have missed them. You’re more likely to be aware of your baby’s movements when you’re lying down rather than sitting, and you’ll probably be least aware of them when you’re standing. So take a rest for a little while and try to zone in on your babies movements.
The Reason for this Blog
On Saturday 16th March 2019, at 35 weeks and 2 days, we had our second event of reduced movement. We had a relatively busy day and it wasn’t until Elle relaxed at around 4pm that she realised that she hadn’t felt the baby move. He may have moved throughout they day, but Elle may have missed it due to us being out and about.
Anyway, 4pm and Elle notices. Before calling the midwife, we tried a couple of things first – light jumping jacks, talking to the baby, shining a light of the belly – nothing really worked. So, we made the call…
It’s worth noting that we should have called straight away and that’s what I, and I’m sure your midwife, would recommend.
As expected the labour ward told us to go up and see them straight away!
The Checks – CTG and Growth Scan
Saturday night and Sunday morning were for the same reason – CTG.
Cardiotocography or CTG is a test usually done in the third trimester of pregnancy. It is done to see if the baby’s heart beats at a normal rate and variability. For us, and anybody else going through reduced movement, this test can be a great relief. Usually you’re asked to be assessed for 20 minutes, but this can go on for longer.
It is not a complex assessment, the mother will have two belt-like monitors strapped to her tummy. One measures your baby’s heart rate and the other measures contractions of the uterus. You or your partner will have to remain seated or lying down during the test.
Normally, a baby’s heart rate is anywhere between 110 and 160 beats per minute and increases when the baby moves. Checking that your baby’s heart rate responds to his movements is an indirect way of knowing if he gets enough oxygen from the placenta.
Monday morning however, came with an added ingredient – the growth scan.
The scan takes place just like your other ultrasound scans, using gel on your belly and a transducer device to show an image of your baby to the sonographer.
These scans are usually recommended in high risk pregnancies, when the mother is diabetic or has high blood pressure, or in the case of slow growing babies, twins, or a previous history of stillbirth. However, in our case it was because we had experienced our second event of reduced movement.
There are a few reasons for these scans and the sonographer will be looking for a couple of measurements;
Measure your baby’s head, abdomen and thigh bone
Assess the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
Determine the position of your baby
Measure the blood flow around your baby’s body
Consultant-led or Midwife-led
Piecing together information from the scan can give a picture of how your baby is doing.
During our first CTG on the Saturday we was told that, as this was now the second event of reduced movement, that the pregnancy would move to being consultant-led instead of midwife-led.
This may not be the case for everyone, but it was for us.
Elle didn’t feel to comfortable with this as she has always wanted to remain midwife-led. I don’t know whether it’s because Elle is a nurse herself, or whether it’s because the midwife-led Ward has the fancy birthing suites – big beds, birthing pools, gym balls etc.
Either way, following our final CTG and growth scan on Monday morning, it is looking like we will remain midwife-led. Elle does have to confirm this during her next antenatal appointment, but as the scans came back perfectly there shouldn’t be a reason for us to be consultant-led.
35 weeks and 4 days, our baby is weighing 6lb 3oz.
What About You – When To Report Reduced Movement?
AS SOON AS YOU REALISE!
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.