All You Need to Know About Foetal Movements
Getting a peek into your baby’s world before it actually enters your world is both thrilling and useful. Hence, it is important to keep a track of the baby’s movements to ensure he/she is doing well. After all, developing within you is a brand new life and your foremost priority is to cater to all its needs!
Most babies are pretty energetic in the womb, still each one moves to its own rhythm. It’s very easy to understand the individual pattern of your baby’s movements and adapt to it. However, if you feel any change or decrease in the usual pattern of movements, do not wait to consult your doctor.
What are Foetal movements?
The first trimester is a period during which the foetus develops astoundingly fast, it is still very tiny and too far nested in the cushioning comfort of your womb for you to feel any of its movements. Though some women feel the slight twitches and flits during the fourth month, it’s usually between 20 to 24 weeks of pregnancy that most moms-to-be experience tiny sensations in the uterus. Doctors call these foetal movements. If you have not started to feel them by the fifth month, it’s advisable to visit your doctor and get an ultrasound.
As your pregnancy advances, these movements become more varied in pattern, but predictable, stronger and noticeable. Apart from the kicks and punches that can be strong enough to jolt you upright, you may also feel a series of fluttering movements. When you do, you know your little one is having a fit of hiccups!
Do not compare your baby’s movements with that of your pregnant friend’s baby’s or even with that of your earlier child. Babies are individuals just like us and each one has its own activity rhythm. You should become familiar with the unique type and pattern of your baby’s foetal movements, and be able to recognize the periods of quiet or movement.
As the baby continuously grows, its movements may feel different, but should occur throughout the course of the day.
What should you do if you notice a decline in foetal movements?
It is always advisable to immediately contact your doctor if you feel that your baby’s movements have decreased.
If you are busy at work and have not paid attention to foetal movements, have carbohydrate-rich food like chocolates or juices, lie down on your left and keep a watch for at least two hours. If you feel ten or more foetal movements during this time, there is no need to panic. However, continue to monitor the foetal movements for the next few days to ensure that your baby has resumed its normal pattern. And don’t forget to report this to your doctor.
If you are less than 28 weeks pregnant
If you feel that your foetal movements have decreased considerably, you should immediately inform your doctor.
He/she will test for foetal heartbeats using a sonic aid and take appropriate action. If all is well, you will be sent home with advice on how to closely monitor foetal movements.
If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant
If you feel your baby’s movements have come down noticeably, you must meet your doctor immediately. The doctor will monitor the foetal heart using a machine called Cardiotocogaph (CTG).
The CTG monitors your baby’s heart rate for a period of 20 minutes. If the CTG is normal and no other risk factor is identified, you will be discharged. If few or no foetal movements are recorded or other risk factors are identified, then your doctor will advise you on your available options and help you plan your next step.
In general, 12 to 15 movements in 12 hours, 2 to 3 movements in the first hour after a meal, are considered normal. If you have high-risk factors like diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, then you must closely watch for movements of the baby and any changes should be brought to your doctor’s attention soon.
Note: Never hesitate to contact your doctor if you are unsure of your baby’s movements.