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Third Trimester Pregnancy: Fetal Movement

October 30, 2020


“As an obstetrician, I get this question all the time. How much should my baby move? And there’s really no clear answer for that. It really depends on your baby. And it depends on how much room the baby has in your belly to move. But it’s important to be always thinking about the normal patterns of your baby. Does your baby go through sleep and wake cycles? And during a wake cycle, it would have a lot more movement than during a sleep cycle. And we also notice that as babies get bigger, they can’t do the big rolling movements that they used to do. So it starts to be a bit more like little bumps, as opposed to big elbows and big knees and those somersaults that babies do in the second trimester. So as you reach the second and then into the third trimesters baby’s movement might change, but you will still notice movement if you’ve been highlighted as someone who has to really monitor baby’s movement.

So if the doctor or your healthcare provider is concerned, for some reason, it may be that you’re monitoring movement to ensure that the baby’s getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs, because sometimes if there’s a problem with the placenta or the umbilical cord or the pressure of the blood flow to the baby, then the baby’s movement can be one of the first indications of that by decreasing its movement. That baby is saving energy because it has to put energy and reserve because maybe it’s not getting enough from the placenta or umbilical cord. So just feeling your baby’s movement and taking a rest, having laying on your left side so that you’re tilted over a bit and just putting your hands on your belly and maybe closing your eyes and just focusing on, are you feeling baby’s movements and then do some counting of how many movements are you feeling?

And those are the kinds of things that you can talk to your doctor about, or make a phone call and just explain how many movements you’ve got or how the movement has changed. I know that babies will go through a lot of shifts in their amount of movement. Again, depending on whether they’re awake or asleep, depending on how much energy they have, and also just depending on their personality and who they are. So if you feel like your baby’s movement is changing, that’s not so much anything to worry about, but if you feel like you haven’t felt the baby move as much as usual or your doctor has advised you to keep track of baby’s movement, then you really want to be vigilant about reporting that back to the doctor because that decreased movement could be an indication that something’s wrong.”

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