Tommy launched its #MovementsMatter campaign recently, for purposes I especially relate to and because BABY MOVEMENTS MATTER:
- to challenge dangerous myths about baby movement in pregnancy
- to increase awareness of how vital it is to monitor baby movements
- to encourage expectant mums to trust their instincts about their baby’s movements
- to empower pregnant women and give them the confidence to get help when they’re concerned
- to give pregnant women clear information about what to do if their baby’s movements feel unusual
- to let pregnant women know what to expect when they reach out for help with their baby’s movements
- to inform pregnant women that they are not wasting people’s time when they reach out for help about their baby’s movements
Just under 2 weeks before this campaign started, I was worried about my baby’s movement. My baby didn’t seem to be moving as much as before, and around the time of the day that I was used to. Yet I did nothing but worry for about 2 to 3 days.
What held me back from acting promptly?
I questioned the validity of my instincts and didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
I didn’t want to disturb my toddler’s routine again; he has been to the hospital with me so many times over these past months. I felt bad expecting him to ‘behave’ and not run around laughing loudly, on the long corridors that called out for his exploration. After all, hospitals are serious spaces for the most part; not a toddler’s playground.
I didn’t want my husband putting everything aside again just to take me to an appointment I wasn’t sure I needed; increasing our petrol cost (silly, I know).
I didn’t want to waste the midwives’ time and the NHS’ money to massage away my worries when all was probably well.
Lastly, I didn’t want to waste my time waddling around when I didn’t need to, dealing with the discomfort of getting in and out of the car, feeling like a burden to those caring for me, especially when I could be working through another chore on my unending to-do list.
Baby movements myths that hold us back
According to Tommy’s research, 52% of women worry about getting help with reduced fetal movements because they are afraid of “wasting midwife’s time” and “being a nuisance” – I’m one of these.
Why do we worry about wasting people’s time when our babies need our help to get help?
Tommy’s research found that some of us incorrectly think that:
- A certain amount of kicks is fine
- We can use a home doppler for reassurance
- We can’t be checked at the weekend or outside 9am – 5pm
- Baby movements slow down in the 3rd trimester due to lack of space
- We can bring up our concern at our next midwife or doctor’s appointment
Honesty time: have you delayed getting support for any of these reasons? #5 definitely resonates with me.
Why do baby movements matter?
Perhaps, we need more understanding of the importance of our decision to get help with this.
Seeking help with unusual changes in baby movements could potentially change the life chance for some babies.
Baby movements and stillbirth
I mean, consider the fact that …
about 55% of mums who’ve had a stillbirth noticed a reduction or pause in their baby’s movements beforehand, but unfortunately didn’t report it. That’s staggering and sobering.
To think that some babies might be alive today if the negative change in their movement had been checked out is heartbreaking; I can’t even imagine how horrific it must be for mums that have gone through this.
1 in every 220 babies born in the UK is stillborn. In 2015, the UK ranked 24 out of 49 high-income countries for stillbirth rates.
It’s important to note that this isn’t scaremongering … absolutely not. It’s being aware of meaningful statistics, to help us understand how much baby movements matter.
I … all pregnant women … must remember that babes in bumps communicate their well-being to us through their movements. Their movements are not for show, or just to make us feel good. Hence, unusual increases or/and decreases in their movements matter … like, really … really matters!
[via GIPHY] Your baby’s movement is unique to you and your baby
Baby movements is an indicator of baby wellness.
So, reduced baby movements could potential be the first sign that a baby is unhappy and in distress. Think about it: when we’re not well, we tend to move less, don’t we? Similarly, babies are likely to save their energy and move less when they’re not doing as well as they should be doing; in and out of the womb.
So, to the 73% of us who are likely to delay getting help and instead try hearsay to make our babies move like we’re used to … STOP and GET HELP.
It is heartbreaking to think that babies’ lives may be lost because we don’t get how important paying attention to their movements is … or are scared of wasting the time of those who actually want to help us.
Get this: a similar campaign in Norway reduced stillbirth by a third; I really hope it does the same for us in England. This is one case where it’s better for us to be over than under cautious. I mean, we’re talking about the very survival … the precious lives … of our most fragile and vulnerable group … our babies … our long expected bundles of joy.
So, let’s heed Tommy’s #MovementsMatter campaign with NHS England and Kicks Count:
- Be informed – find out more
- Be observant – pay attention to your baby’s movement
- Be prepared – save relevant contact numbers on your mobile
- ACT – yes, get your phone and make the call for help whenever needed
DON’T HESITATE TO GET HELP, TO HELP YOUR BABY.
What do you think?