How do I monitor my baby's movement?

Published on: 06/07/2018

So my heavily pregnant friend came over for a chat one day. She had just been to see her midwife who had explained to her the importance of monitoring her baby’s movements and stressed that she must call straight away if she felt any change.

“Great!” I thought to myself. How things were moving forward since we’d lost our baby back in 2006.

But actually she was in a state of incredibly high anxiety and felt absolutely terrified. She knew what had happened to me and with how awareness had moved forward over the years, she probably had heard about others too. How would she know if something changed? How could she know? What if she didn’t notice?

We all know awareness is key to saving babies lives, both from a parent’s and professional point of view. That being said, I kind of felt that my friend would rather have not had that appointment and not now have in her head just how important monitoring her baby’s movement was. That doesn’t make her a bad person, just an utterly terrified one which I think anyone who has ever been pregnant can relate to.

So it took me to a place of remembering with my friend to try and help.

Looking back, I KNEW there was something wrong hours before my baby passed away. I knew that change in movement within my very bones. I did not understand it and I was happy to be placated with the whole “you’re in labour, baby slows down” talk at the time. Why? Well because there wasn’t any awareness around back then. I certainly had no clue at all that anything could go wrong that late on in pregnancy. I simply put my worries down to hormones.

I have had the privilege to speak with many parents who have lost a baby since and this instinct and “sense” of a change in movement seems to be a common theme (not 100% of the time, but very often).

We know that every baby has a different routine and movement pattern and as your pregnancy goes on, you will have an awareness of this even if you don’t realise that you do. Maybe when you first wake up your baby has a little active phase. Maybe it’s while you’re trying to sleep. Whatever that routine is, if you are feeling anxious about monitoring movement, then why not write it in a diary to look back on?

If you have any worries at all, or sense any change, just get checked. Honestly, you are not being a pain. There are triage midwives available 24 hours a day. Don’t use a home doppler, get yourself in to be monitored properly.

I’m sorry to us rainbow mums as for me personally, any sense of instinct just went out the window with my subsequent pregnancies after loss. Is it instinct or just paranoia? I found that the “sense” gets a bit skewed with the traumatic memories. I actually had my own personal set of straps to take in for monitoring with my rainbow pregnancies and knew all of the midwives personally from my daily visits.

So you see, you are not a nuisance at all. When you’ve been in the position of going in for daily monitoring, you come to realise that it’s exactly what the midwives job is and why they are at work that day / night. The reality is that if a movement change means that your baby is poorly, then it’s possible that something can be done. If you still feel that you will be worried about being a burden, then why not get yourself a wellbeing wallet here to help give you confidence to make that call? You could say “it says here that I am to call immediately if I sense a change in movement” taking that awful niggling feeling of being a nuisance from your shoulders.

Awareness may be scary to start with, but in sharing knowledge we can only bring power. If in any doubt, ALWAYS get checked out.