A baby’s movements are a key indicator of their wellbeing.
The majority of women experiencing a stillbirth (55%) reported that they had perceived a change in their baby’s regular pattern of movement prior to the diagnosis. It has been identified in a number of studies in of stillbirths in Norway and the UK that an inappropriate response by clinicians to maternal perception of reduced fetal movement was a contributory factor in stillbirth. It is therefore important that Mums are aware of the importance and insist on the right care if they notice a change in their baby’s movements. You can read more here about the care you should receive based on your stage of pregnancy.
In Norway, a comparison was made between the incidence of stillbirth before and after women were given written information about fetal movement and the importance of reporting reduced fetal movement and a standard protocol for the management of reduced fetal movements was introduced. The incidence of stillbirth fell from 3 per 1000 births to 2 per 1000. In women perceiving reduced fetal movement the rate dropped from 42 per 24 per 1000.
By reporting all cases of reduced fetal movement promptly, assesments can be carried out and those babies thought to be at risk can be delivered early. It is thought up to a third of stillbirths could be prevented this way.