Decreased Fetal Movement: 5 Reasons to Worry

decreased fetal movement

Feeling your baby’s movements is a cherished part of pregnancy, and any changes in their activity can be a cause for concern. While every pregnancy is different, it’s important to be aware of the potential reasons for decreased fetal movement. Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical attention when necessary.

Typical fetal movements

As your baby grows, their movements may become more defined and noticeable. The baby starts to kick and move in the second trimester and continues throughout the rest of your pregnancy. During the third trimester, expectant mothers have to feel more vigorous patterns. However, they will also have periods of rest or sleep, which can lead to temporarily decreased fetal movement. These variations are usually nothing to worry about, especially if you continue to feel some movement.

Pay attention to movement patterns

The expectant mothers should recognize some kind of pattern in their baby’s movements by the 28th week of pregnancy. Your baby may be extremely active:

  • During certain times of the day
  • When you exercise
  • When you eat something sweet or drink something cold
  • When you lie down

It’s a good idea to pay attention to your baby’s routine so that you can notice any decrease in fetal movement. Some physicians advise monitoring the baby’s kick counts to detect changes in the baby’s routines. Ask your doctor for their recommendations.

Reasons for decreased fetal movement

There are a lot of possible causes of decreased fetal movement. Some of them are usually nothing to worry about. However, there are some causes that require urgent appropriate medical attention. Reasons for decreased fetal movement may include:

Your activity level

Mother’s movements may make your baby sleep, or when you’re busy or engaged in physical activity, you may be less likely to notice subtle movements. Additionally, certain medications, such as those for pain relief or muscle relaxation, can affect your perception of fetal movements. Always consult with your healthcare provider about the potential impact of any medication you’re taking.

Positioning of the baby

The position of your baby can impact the intensity and frequency of their movements. If your baby is positioned in a way that their movements are directed towards your back or placenta, it may make them less noticeable. In such cases, you might feel movements more subtly or not at all. As your baby continues to grow and change positions, their movements will likely become more prominent.

Sleep/Wake Cycles

Just like adults, babies have sleep and wake cycles. They may be more active during certain times of the day and quieter during others. It’s common for babies to be more active in the evening when you’re at rest or lying down. However, if you notice a significant decrease in their movements throughout the day, it’s important to pay attention and seek medical advice.

Your baby is preparing for birth

When the due date approaches or your baby’s head has dropped down into the pelvis to prepare for delivery, they may be less active.

Your baby is too small for their movement to be felt regularly. This is common in the second trimester.

When to worry about fetal movement?

While most reasons for decreased fetal movement are not a sign that anything is wrong, sometimes, there are reasons that require urgent medical attention. The most common reason for decreased fetal movements is low or excess amniotic fluid. When you do not have enough amniotic fluid, your baby can’t move around as freely. Too much amniotic fluid may cushion their movements, making them harder to perceive. However, this is not the case for worries. In most cases, low or excess amniotic fluid doesn’t have a negative effect on the pregnancy. You will be more closely monitored by your healthcare provider, but most mothers with such issues deliver healthy babies.

When to go to hospital for decreased fetal movement?

In some cases, decreased fetal movement can be a sign of fetal distress. This may occur due to issues such as reduced blood flow, placental problems, or fetal growth restrictions. If you notice a significant and prolonged decrease in fetal movements, it’s crucial to contact your healthcare provider immediately. They can evaluate your situation and determine the appropriate course of action, which may include further monitoring or tests.
It’s important to trust your instincts as a mother and pay attention to any changes in your baby’s movements. If you have concerns or notice a significant decrease in fetal movements, it’s always best to contact your healthcare provider for guidance. They can assess your situation and provide the necessary support to ensure the health and well-being of both you and your baby.

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