Why are baby movements important?

Babies’ movements are important because they are a sign of wellbeing.  Babies are like us: when they are sick, they are less active, and when they are well, they are active.  Usually, if the baby is unwell, one of the first signs a woman will detect is a change in her baby’s movements.

By around 28 weeks, many women are aware of what is normal activity for their baby.  Each baby is different; what is important is what is normal for your baby.

All babies will go through periods of wakefulness and periods of sleep.  Many babies are more active in the evening or through the night.

When you are monitoring your baby’s movements, many women ask if they need to count the movements.  This is not usually necessary.  All that is needed is for you to be alert to a reduction in your baby’s movements that represents a change for your baby.  For example, you should be concerned if your baby is not active in the evening if he has previously been active in the evenings.

Your midwife or doctor may ask you to be alert to your baby’s movements even more than normal if you have high blood pressure, ongoing vaginal bleeding, there are concerns about your baby’s growth, or your pregnancy has continued beyond 41 weeks.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s movements, you should contact your midwife or doctor.  They will ask you about your baby’s movements and then ask you to come into their rooms or the hospital for some monitoring of your baby.