Reduced baby movements after the 24th week of pregnancy

Having an active baby is a good sign that your baby is healthy. Every baby is different and their patterns all vary, so get to know your baby and what is normal. It’s important to recognise if your baby becomes less active or stops moving. However, it is sometimes difficult to be aware of movements when you are busy, active and on your feet for a lot of the day so allow yourself time to sit down and become aware throughout the day. As your pregnancy progresses, it is normal for movements to change, from vigorous kicks and punches to less vigorous rolls and squirms, but the frequency usually remains similar. This is normal and is indicative of how much space they have to move around.

  • If reduced or absent baby movements are associated with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding

You need urgent help.

Contact your maternity unit immediately

  • If you are concerned your baby is moving less than normal. The assessment of baby movements is very individual to each pregnancy. There is not a specific number of movements you need to feel and only you know what is normal for your baby.

self care at home if you have no red or amber signs

  • If your recent antenatal assessment was normal and if you are unsure whether your baby’s movement are reduced or not, monitor carefully for 2 hours. This may be easier if you lay on your left side. If after this time you feel that your baby’s movements are reduced, contact your maternity unit. If normal movements have been felt continue with routine antenatal care.

Self care

Contact your maternity unit if you are still concerned

Maternity Unit

Your local maternity unit is staffed 24 hours a day with obstetrician s and midwives to help care for you, your baby and your pregnancy related health concerns. For some AMBER concerns it may be possible to be seen in a midwifery led unit if it is more convenient for you. For health concerns that are not related to your pregnancy you are advised to see your GP, call NHS 111 out of hours, or attend A&E if it is an emergency.

To find the contact numbers for your local maternity unit, please click here.

  • Labour line (maternity advice line) - Many maternity units provide women with a central advice line often called “labour line”. You are advised to call this number if you think you might be in labour. The phone is answered by a midwife 24hours a day. They will ask you questions, assess you and give advice. When the time is right they will arrange for you to attend your preferred place of birth, or arrange a midwife to come to you if you are planning a homebirth.
  • Community Midwife- Your community midwife provides you with all routine maternity care from your first “booking in“ appointment in early pregnancy to discharging you to the care of the health visitors when your baby is 2 weeks old. She will give you information on keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy and refer you to specialists if required.

Whilst you may have individual contact details for your community midwife, if you are concerned about your pregnancy we advise you call the maternity unit on the numbers provided because staff are available 24 hours a day. Please do not leave urgent voicemails or text on a community midwife’s phone.

GP (General Practitioner)

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and can arrange referral to a hospital specialist should you need it. Whilst pregnant, you will have regular appointments with a midwife but it is still important to continue with any ongoing care from your GP.

NHS 111

NHS 111 can ask you questions to assess your symptoms, give you advice or can put you in touch with a GP out of usual working hours.

Accident and Emergency

A&E departments provide vital care for life threatening emergencies, such as suspected heart attack or breathing difficulties. If you are not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

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