Decreased Fetal Movement – When to Panic!

Archana kini
Archana kini Lifestyle
8 Min Read
Image by Dan Evans from Pixabay

When a mother conceives, she feels every aspect of a baby. She is sensitive to her baby’s movements. When the fetus is in distress, the fetus is unable to move and is less active. Let us find out what to do in case of decreased fetal movement.

1. Decreased Fetal Movement

You are aware of the baby’s movement pattern, you feel the baby’s movements rather than relying on the ultrasound. Decreased fetal movement indicates that the baby is moving toward the spine rather than the belly button.

Decreased fetal movement
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

This movement decreases at 25 weeks if you notice it, you must visit the hospital within 2 hours of the decreased fetal movement. As pregnancy progresses, you feel your baby move. You feel fetal movement. Early fetal movements help you understand and feel movements.

2. What to do during Decreased Fetal Movement

During decreased fetal movement, you should move, consume sweets, have something cold, and lie on your left. If you want to notice your baby’s movements, buy a home Doppler to check your child’s heartbeat.

3. How Does Decreased Fetal Movement Feel?

Though there may be many reasons for decreased fetal movement, one among them can be baby snoozing. In the third trimester, during 18 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, fetal movement count feels like butterflies moving, nudges, twitches, or hunger pangs.

Decreased fetal movement
Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

You feel the baby’s movement is more active during your six months of pregnancy in a particular pattern. Monitor fetal movement to understand when to reach the hospital.

You feel a thrust when the baby punches, kicks, and rolls. You must experience wriggling and turning with some bolts of elbow and knees in satisfactory measure.

Risk factors associated with pregnancy with decreased fetal movements require you to visit a healthcare provider. Ultrasound assessment in pregnant women concerning kick counts with normal movements may indicate a healthy baby.

4. When to Visit Hospital?

When you find 10 counted fetal movements within 1 or 2 hours, visiting the maternity hospital would be conducive.  Moreover, Fetal movement pattern also changes throughout the pregnancy.  However, the noticeable decrease in fetal movement requires a visit to a health care provider.

Hi9 | What is Decreased Fetal Movement? | Dr. Chinmayee Ratha | Fetal  Specialist

5. Reasons for Decreased Fetal Movement  

If you are active, your movement can cause the babies to doze off to sleep. You may feel the small movements of your little one. In the second trimester, your baby may rapidly move or rest.

Additionally, sudden increase or decrease in the fetal movement and abrupt patterns in the fetal movement may also indicate seriousness. Abrupt changes in the fetal movement may be a cause of concern if it is unusual.

5.1 Decreased Amniotic Fluid

 As an expecting woman,  if you have low amniotic fluid and people with this condition do not have symptoms that come to notice and have healthy pregnancies, though, a few of them may notice a significant drop in fetal activity.

Amniotic fluid volume or too much amniotic fluid may cause problems in baby movements.

decreased fetal movement
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5.2 Excess Amniotic Fluid 

In medical conditions like diabetes, excess amniotic fluid is common decreasing fetal movement.  An extra shield makes it tough to feel the baby’s movements.

5.3 Reduced or Enlarged Baby Size

Your baby is too little, and it is active once and rests the other time. If the baby is small, it is not possible to notice the baby’s movements.

5.4 Fetal Discomfort 

The oxygen supply to the baby gets disrupted and slows the baby’s movement. Reduced oxygen supply requires immediate C-section.

Decrease fetal movement
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The reduced oxygen supply may deprive the fetus of oxygen making it still and leading to pregnancy complications.

6. Assessment of Decreased Fetal Movement 

The non-stress test provides your baby’s heart rate. The physician monitors the heart rate within 20 to 30 minutes to check if the rhythm changes during movement or contractions of the uterus.

Decreased fetal movement
Image by jas from Pixabay

The test provides an estimate of the baby’s oxygen supply. To know more visit here. 

6.1 Non-stress Test for Fetal Well-Being 

The non-stress test for fetal heart rate would be through ultrasound, fetal dopplers, and heart monitors to provide an estimate of your baby’s heartbeat.

7. Things to Remember

If your baby’s movement decreases within 24 weeks of pregnancy, monitor your baby’s heartbeat through an ultrasound. Count your baby’s kicks or bumps to know the patterns of its movement.

Decreased fetal movement
Image by Marjon Besteman from Pixabay

If your baby is not well, you may experience reduced fetal movements. You can diagnose irregular bumping through an ultrasound scan, pregnancy risk due to stillbirth, and your baby’s heart rate is normal but still experiences reduced fetal movements in pregnancy.

Causes of decreased or absent fetal movements - Dr. Sangeeta Gomes

When the baby’s movement is decreased, the baby does not get enough food or oxygen. The amniotic fluid makes the baby move flexibly, if the fluid is low your baby develops tightness in joints and contractures that make it difficult to stretch or move.

Obesity thickens the abdominal wall, which makes it difficult for the baby to move. Social habits such as smoking can obstruct a baby’s movement.

Tight abdominal muscles during the first pregnancy cause hindrances in the baby’s movement. Alcohol consumption also reduces the baby’s movement.

Reduced baby movement may indicate stillbirth which is a caution to visit a hospital. Fetal distress may cause a reduction in fetal movements resulting in fetal death.

Certain conditions lead to decreased fetal movements such as congenital abnormalities, premature birth, cerebral palsy, underweight during birth, and hypoglycemia.

Your baby has grown larger and requires the uterus to stretch. Your baby’s head may seem attached to the pelvis, which feels like a sharp prick.

8. Conclusion

Several factors are responsible for the decreased or increased fetal movement. Fetal movement fluctuates due to interrupted oxygen supply and different trimesters in pregnancy.

Certain pain relief drugs like sedatives can enter your baby’s circulation and reduce your baby’s movement. Medical conditions concerning nerves or muscles cause a baby to move a little or cease its movement.

Meanwhile,  a small uterus and pregnancy complications associated with stillbirth are reasons for decreased fetal movement. Also, a baby’s movement changes as with the growth of the baby and the movement pattern fluctuates t through activity and sleep.

Last Updated on by Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi

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