Today’s blog is for the baby charity, Tommy’s who are leading a campaign to raise awareness of reduced fetal movements during pregnancy. The campaign is supported by Kicks Count and NHS England, alongside the hashtags #movementsmatter and #KickMeBabyOneMoreTime.
This is a campaign particularly close to my heart. As some of you may know, I have been pregnant 5 times. During the first pregnancy with my son, I wasn’t aware at all of checking the amount of times my baby moved. In all honesty, I sailed through that pregnancy, and didn’t give a second thought that anything could go wrong. As I mention in a previous blog, The Mummy He Used To Know, I pretty much took the entire pregnancy for granted (without realising of course).
Then over the following couple of years, we endured the traumas of three recurrent miscarriages. And I suppose that’s where everything changed. I ended up with severe anxiety, and, when falling pregnant with my daughter, I panicked constantly, from beginning to end, that we were going to lose her.
That’s when I did some research into reduced fetal movement. I wanted to make sure I was feeling my baby girl move as much as she should be, and what to do when those movements were reduced.
On only one occasion, did I have to act upon my concerns for my baby, when, along with horrific pain, a temperature and faintness, I hadn’t felt her move for the best part of an afternoon. I did all the websites told me to do, ate something sugary, drank a cold drink, laid on different sides. Nothing.
I called the maternity unit in my local hospital and was told to come in. In fairness I was pretty adamant I was coming in, so I’m not sure I gave the leading midwife much choice! In all honesty, the pain was bad enough to take me up there but the reduced movements, alongside my already anxious mind pushed me further.
The pain ended up being a urine infection, (another beautiful pregnancy effect, people fail to mention will more than likely happen to you!) The reduced movements, were nothing serious. The midwife said the pain I was in with the urine infection were more than likely masking the movements, and I was so focused on the pain I just hadn’t noticed her moving. All was fine, and I went on to have a healthy baby girl.
The difference between my story and so many others, is that sometimes, a mum-to-be won’t go and get checked. 52% of women asked, during a recent survey, have said, they would be worried about looking for help when they notice reduced movements due to a fear of “wasting midwives time”. Please don’t worry about wasting anyones time. Midwives are there to care for you and your baby, go to them if you think anything is wrong with your baby during pregnancy. Trust your instincts.
You are never wasting a midwifes time with your concerns. You know your body, and you know the baby growing inside you. If you think there’s a problem, get it checked. The age old quote “it’s better to be safe than sorry” should be imprinted on your mind during pregnancy. The alternative just isn’t worth the risk.
In a recent study, around half of women who had a still birth, said that they had noticed that their babies movements had slowed down.
For every 220 babies born in the UK, 1 is stillborn, and in the UK we rank 24th out of 49 high-income countries for the amount of stillbirths that occur.* For a country with such an impressive healthcare service, this isn’t acceptable. 1 in 220 is not ok!
That’s why this campaign has been set up. To raise awareness of reduced fetal movements and to help mums-to-be, whether this is their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th baby, that they must seek help if they feel something is wrong.
In Norway, a similar campaign was run, and it cut the rate of stillbirth down by a third-we could do that here in the UK too!
Tommy’s have provided me with this lovely link to a video about reduced fetal movements. Please take a look as it explains so much about what I have highlighted so far.
There is no specific number that everyone must follow to count the number of movements a baby has. You know how much your baby moves. Personally, both of mine, moved more in the afternoon and evening than they did in the morning. Your baby may be different. All pregnancies are different, and what is a normal amount of movements for your baby, will not be the same as another mums. Comparing them and panicking because your friend/family member has a more active baby isn’t how this works. You will know your baby has reduced the amount of movements, because you become aware of their natural individual pattern.
If you’re reading this, currently pregnant, and think you could do with getting checked out because you haven’t felt your baby move as much today, call your midwife. If she’s not available, call your local hospital maternity unit. Be insistent. Explain your concerns and that you would like to be checked out. Do not put that phone call off until the next day.
As I said, this sort of information wasn’t available when I had my son, but it was when I was pregnant with my daughter. I recommend using this information for yourselves, but also spreading the word to your other mummy-to-be friends, who either may not have a clue about any of it, or may have been misinformed in the past and need clarification.
Sharing this, could save a babies life. We could prevent that 1 in 220……
*Statistics taken from Tommys research.
To find out more about reduced fetal movements and the Tommys campaign-click here.