A change in baby's movements

In pregnancy, babies' movements are a sign of their health. If your baby's pattern of kicks and movements changes, contact your midwife or nearest maternity unit for immediate advice

During pregnancy, a baby’s first movements happen any time between 16 and 24 weeks and gradually start to develop a pattern. They increase up to around 32 weeks and then stay roughly the same

It’s a myth that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy

Get to know your baby’s normal pattern of movements. Although your midwife will ask about your baby’s movements at every appointment from 25–26 weeks onwards, if you think your baby’s movements have changed, don’t wait until your next appointment to mention it

If you think there's a change

  • If you think your baby’s movements have changed, slowed down or stopped, phone your maternity unit. Don’t put off calling till the next day to see what happens
  • The midwife at the unit will advise you what to do – she may ask you to come to the unit to be checked. Don’t worry about phoning – midwives would much rather you called than were worried
  • If you’re unsure whether your baby has moved because you’re having a busy day, find time to lie down on your left side and focus on your baby’s movements for up to 1 hour. If you’re still worried, call your midwife for advice
  • Don’t rely on devices at home such as hand-held monitors, Dopplers or phone apps to check your baby’s heartbeat. Even if you detect a heartbeat this doesn’t mean your baby is well and you may be falsely reassured

 

These short films about the importance of knowing your baby's movements were produced for Our Chance, a campaign by the charities Sands and Best Beginnings to raise awareness of health issues in pregnancy
More information

The charity Tommy's and NHS England have produced information about baby's movements, which is available from the Tommy's website in ten additional languages