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From the first Flutter to Kicks, What’s Normal and What’s Alarming about the fetal movement in Pregnancy — The normal and abnormal causes of Decreased Fetal Movement

The first Fetal Movement—it’s definitely an exciting moment, but it also makes women conscious and sometimes worrisome about their babies.

A woman’s fetal moment is a subjective measure, the first proof of the life of her child she can experience on her own, without any assistance. This movement is undoubtedly priceless and a sigh of relief. Moreover, researchers confirm that there is a correlation 2.4%-81% (median 44.8%) between maternal perceptions and ultrasound results, respectively. 

While on the one hand these movements are a sign of happiness, their decrease can have fatal and unfavourable effects.

Since these movements are so crucial, women increasingly rely on them as a way to connect with their babies. This is also because fetal movements can help them stay assured about the health and stability of their fetuses and babies.

Although there is nothing wrong with this, in some cases, the hormonal influence leads women to keep on thinking and worrying about her fetal moment and the changes in it. And what was initially a sigh of relief becomes a stressor if one keeps on wondering about fetal movements, what’s normal and what’s abnormal.

Here it is pertinent to keep in mind that from the moment you first felt your fetal’s movement to her world debut, there is going to be an incredible number of changes in these movements. So, relying entirely upon these movements is wrong and so is ignoring them. Thus, here it is important to differentiate between the normal decrease in fetal movement and alarming ones.  

Fetal Movements During Pregnancy–What is Normal

As the fetal movement continues on changing throughout the pregnancy, there are some types of decreases in this movement that are completely normal. From the very first flutters to twitches, butterflies, nudges and sometimes they even seem like hunger pangs, there is an immense variety of fetal movements. So don’t get used to  a particular pattern and expect it to continue throughout the pregnancy.

Phases of Movements in Different Phases of Pregnancy

During the early stages or as women report, the very first fetal movement around 20-22 weeks is usually very quick, short, and difficult to understand. Following the first time, this movement continues to grow (as the fetus grows in size and health) and eventually transforms into somersaults.

Further, in the sixth month of pregnancy or around (every pregnancy and body is different, so are the experiences) you will notice the pitter patter of the little feet together with those iconic kicks of your little gymnast.

But as the pregnancy proceeds and your baby becomes stronger, you can experience jolting punches, especially when you are relaxing or trying to relax. And this is the phase when you will feel the most fetal moments of all times.

After eight months, your baby is not only stronger but has packed pounds as well, so your womb is getting smaller for her. Thus, you will feel the decrease in fetal movement immediately. Which further reduces by the last month and limits to bigger movements, seeming like the baby is trying to fit into the tight quarter of your womb.

Thus, this type of rise and fall in baby’s activities is normal and can vary from person to person with a little difference.

But the relation between the observed decrease in fetal movement and its adverse outcomes in pregnancy is widely acknowledged. Despite advanced health and care facilities, decreased fetal moment is associated with the risks of prenatal deaths, including fetal and neonatal death.

The fetal death rate has remained a matter of concern in wealthy countries. Therefore, this stagnant field of medicine is still a threat and cause of concern for pregnant women and their health care providers. 

Therefore, the concerns and worries related to decreased fetal movement are justifiable. Nevertheless, there are some reasons in which decreased fetal movement is absolutely normal like:-

You Were Too Busy To Notice

It is a common observation that when pregnant women lie down, she feels movements more rapidly as compared to when she was on her legs. As it is said that the gentle movements of a woman lull the baby to sleep.

It can also be the reason that you might be too distracted to feel and notice the movements.

Your Baby is Too Small

In the second trimester, the baby is still too small, but this phase is dominated by fetal movements. Therefore, it is also possible that you cannot comprehend the fetal movements. As they are still too short and undistinguishable because of the small and naïve baby being able to do a little and only gentle movement.

In fact, it is also possible that you kept on sleeping during those swift movements because babies are mostly active during the night. 

 Sex Can Affect the Fetal Movement

Provided that everybody and pregnancy differs, so does every baby. Therefore, some babies may get lulled after sex while others become active. Thus, if you notice decreased fetal movement after having sexual activity, it is completely normal until your doctor tells you to abstain from sex. Otherwise, sex and facing decreased fetal movement after sex is entirely normal.

Sleepy Little Head

Fetuses have interludes of deep and long sleep. You will soon experience this (after the birth) or you may already have experienced it with your newborn if you are a second-time mom. These fetuses sleep all day long, just like newborns. Therefore, it may be possible that you are experiencing decreased fetal movement because your fetus might be asleep for most of the day, which is normal.

 Your Baby is Too Big To Make Distinguishable Movement

In the late pregnancy, when the fetus has packed on pounds and is ready for her journey towards the world, the womb becomes smaller and smaller for her. And during late pregnancy even after 28 weeks, doctors suggest counting your fetus’s kicks. Ten kicks within two hours suggest a healthy and problem free baby is on her way.

However, you will notice an apparent decrease in the fetal movement, but as long as there are ten kicks within two hours, it indicates everything is all right.

Baby’s Head is settled in Pelvis

During the final weeks of your pregnancy your baby naturally adjusts to the drop-down position. It is because she is adjusting her head in your pelvis to prepare for birth. Thus, when her head is engaged in the pelvis and there is no or hardly any room in the womb for her growing, chubby body, you will notice decreased fetal movement.

Decreased Fetal Movement–What is Alarming?

Despite the many common and normal reasons for decreased fetal movement, there still are some cases in which decreased fetal movement is a cause or intimation of something alarming.

Therefore, doctors suggest counting baby kicks after 28 gestational weeks. In order to count the kicks, doctors recommend that a woman lie down on her side (since babies normally become more active when moms lay down). Observing fewer than 10 kicks after two hours is alarming and requires a consultation with the healthcare provider. 

The decrease in fetal movement is still unfathomable, even in advanced obstetric facilities countries. However, one can’t avoid them but can timely report them to avoid the unfavorable outcomes.

To find out if this is occurring, one should look for decreased fetal movements and seek medical advice if there are any alarming ones. Here are a few reasons that can be the cause of Decreased Fetal Movements.

Too Much Amniotic Fluid

Due to poorly controlled diabetes or with moms carrying multiple fetuses, they got diagnosed with hydramnios. Fortunately, it is rare, but sometimes the extra amount can interfere with mom’s ability to feel fetal movements. While it is not risky, in some cases the doctor may want to monitor the movement to ensure the baby’s safety.

Low Amniotic Fluid

Approximately 4% of pregnant women experience low levels of amniotic fluid, even though this is not a cause for concern in most cases. Oligohydramnios can be experienced in the third trimester and many women don’t even show any noticeable symptoms. Moreover, with the exception of a few cases in which doctors recommend monitoring fetal activity, the others safely give birth to a healthy baby. 

 Fetal Distress

A disruption in baby’s oxygen supply can result in Decreased Fetal Movement. Continuous deprivation of oxygen can lead to a water break and a C-section by a doctor.

All these conditions require immediate consultation. And it is upon consultation and checkup that doctors suggest whether it is fatal for the fetus. Therefore, it is advised to keep a close look at your fetal movement and upon noticing any decrease in it one may not risk the life of herself or her baby and seek immediate consultation from an authorized health care provider. 

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