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Your Baby's Movements In Pregnancy

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, DNB - Obstetrics and Gynecology, MNAMS - General Surgery
Gynaecologist, Delhi
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Hello Friends!

I am Dr. Nidhi Aggarwal, a consultant obstetrician, and gynecologist. In simple words, taking care of the mother, baby, and the womb. Today I will be discussing, rather I would say but a very important topic that is about the fetal movements. Maternal perception of fetal movement is one of the first sign of fetal life. It is regarded as a manifestation of fetal well-being. Movements are first perceived by the mother. And those who are carrying 2nd or 3rd pregnancy, they can even perceive it as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy i.e around completing their 4th month. Now ladies start perceiving fetal movements, she may describe it as a flattered, some describe it as a kick, and gradually they acquire a regular pattern, the mother becomes well acquainted with it. She becomes comfortable with it and becomes aware of it. Now what is to more focus on today, is the awareness. The awareness of fetal movements.

What is it to have the right amount of fetal movements? Now there are no fix numbers because babies keep moving or rolling, cross body movements are there. Sometimes the mother perceives and sometimes they miss. Now what we have observed is the mother is more aware of the fetal movement when they are in lying down position and little less aware when they are sitting. And sometimes totally oblivious when they are walking or working. Sometimes we ask the patient, are you feeling fetal movements, she might say no, I have not noticed. So, what you have to do especially when you complete your 6 months of pregnancy, enter the 7 months, after that, you have to be really aware.

I am not trying to create a anxiety but you have to be aware. If you do not notice the movements, you should lie down, preferably in left lateral position and keep one palm on your abdomen and just concentrate on the movements. Most lightly you will feel good movements. Why I am focusing on this thing because reduced and absent fetal movements can be a warning sign of impending fetal death. Now that is something we never want. So, reduces and absent fetal movements are to be taken very seriously by the patient and by the doctor. Why are movements important because they indicate that the baby is doing well. Now sometimes these movements are actually normal that's when the baby is sleeping. Baby sleep for 20-40 minutes at one go and these may be repeated even 7 times during a day sometimes during the night. But in a normal healthy fetus, sleep cycle will not exceed 90 minutes.

So, if you are not feeling any single fetal movement even after concentrating for 90 minutes, it is the time to see a doctor and this should not be postponed to the next day because then the results may differ. And we don't want that result. Now, what your doctor will do. First, he will use a stethoscope to look for the baby's heartbeat, then a doctor can use a doppler. Electric fetal heart monitoring and a doctor will note minute to the minute fetal heartbeat. In case, there is still a doubt, we will go for an ultrasound. Some patients are at a little high risk if the baby's growth is a little restricted and not growing well. In such cases, if you have a reduced movement or if you have high BP, in these cases you have to more alert. If we have told you that these are high-risk condition, you should see a doctor immediately. So, to conclude, I would stress upon the maternal well-being that the perception of the fetal movements which will ensure the fetal well-being in case, the mother is not sure about the fetal movements.

She should first take rest. Give herself 2 hours. Look for discrete fetal kicks. If still, she is unsure, contact the doctor and get a CTG, ultrasound. Find out where is the problem. In more than 70% of cases, this may occur in once in pregnancy and it may not affect the outcome. But we have to screen so that we could get that 30% where we need t to intervene early and make a difference and give a healthy baby to our smiley mother. Thank you very much for your time and your attention. You can meet me at Mahesh Hospital, Parparganj Area. You can also consult me online through Lybrate or you can fix your appointment through Lybrate app and very easy to use.

Thank You.

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