We are so proud to be working with Kicks Count to help spread their message to pregnant women as part of the Know Your Normal campaign. I have been a supporter of them for several years now and am often left in awe at the work that they do every day to save the lives of babies not yet born. As part of their awareness raising, they use their social media channels and their website to reveal the truth behind common pregnancy myths that have floated around the Pregosphere for centuries. We’ve handed the blog over to Lisa from Kicks Count today who’s here to fill you in on some of those. Whether you’re pregnant or not, we urge you to read on.
Whilst pregnant with my son in 2010 I wasn’t given any information from my midwives about baby movements whatsoever. I had absolutely no idea that knowing his movements was important, let alone something that could potentially save his life if he was in trouble. Any nuggets of information I had were from the internet, largely from birth groups and forums, with well-meaning mums telling others not to worry about their baby’s movements slowing down as they were running out of room to move – that makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, I’ll get to that later.
While I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012 my midwife couldn’t tell me enough that I needed to keep an eye on what she was up to and she asked about movement at every appointment. She pointed me in the direction of a small local charity, then called Count the Kicks, and told me to have a little look. I had a mooch around on the Facebook page, saw what it was all about and went through the rest of my pregnancy confident that I knew what was normal for my baby.
I remained a follower of the charity and believed what they were doing was important. I offered to volunteer and was fortunate that they were looking for someone to answer general enquiries at the time. Quite quickly I became really passionate about the cause and put in more time then I’d ever initially intended! After a while I took on the role of General Manager, which I still do today. So, enough about me, what about the charity?
Count the Kicks became Kicks Count earlier in the year, new name but same important message – get to know your baby’s normal pattern of movement and report any changes or worries to a midwife as soon as possible. The charity was set up to help educate and empower mums with information on movements and to ensure that they have the confidence to speak to a medical professional if they have any concerns. We work with some great organisations such as NHS England, Department of Health and Tommy’s. While there isn’t one solution to reducing stillbirth, a decrease in fetal movement can be a key warning sign that the baby is struggling in the womb and early delivery could save nearly a third of stillborn babies.
*Image courtesy of the Kicks Count facebook page.
While presenting at the NHS England Saving Babies’ Lives Conference Dr Matthew Jolly said of fetal movement – “it is our duty to give people the material facts” and this really struck a chord with me. It’s absolutely true. Gone are the days where we can avoid talking about stillbirth and pretending that it doesn’t happen. We really do make it our duty to tell people about baby movements and give them facts – which is actually the main reason Amie asked me to write this blog! People need and deserve facts.
There are a few myths that linger about pregnancy in general, in particular about baby’s movements, and the charity works hard to squash these. Here are some that you will have undoubtedly heard and why
This is a popular one but is completely untrue. The TYPE of movement that is felt as baby gets bigger is very likely to change, which makes perfect sense as their body and limbs get bigger. It’s so important to know though that the REGULARITY of movement should remain the same. There is no reason for the baby to slow their movement or completely stop moving just because they’re growing, a womb is really rather stretchy and accommodating. The amount of movement felt shouldn’t reduce and, if it does, a quick call to a midwife is needed.
This is another one that’s heard a lot. Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks when the baby will then start to move more and more up until 32 weeks staying roughly the same from then until birth. A baby is expected to move all the way through labour as you’d normally expect. They don’t slow down just for birth, if their movement slows it needs to be investigated as to why.
This isn’t so much a myth as it is advice that’s outdated and this makes it a particularly hard one to tackle. There will be ladies who were told this by midwives in previous pregnancies because it was correct at the time and therefore continue to believe it’s the correct way to monitor movement. All babies are so, so different. For a mum who usually feels her baby move 50 times over 24 hours, if the baby reduced their movements to only 20 that could be a sign that baby is unhappy. However, if she used the count to 10 method she would not seek help as she met the recommended number. Likewise, a woman who usually feels her baby move just 8 times a day may end up phoning the hospital unnecessarily every day as she never meets the 10 movements required. The other issue with fixing a set number of movements is that there is no way to know what a woman is classing as her baby’s movements as it relies on perceptions. The current guidelines recommend that women get to know their own baby’s pattern of movement and speak to a midwife if they feel they’ve reduced.
For more information please visit us on www.kickscount.org.uk