For parents For Dads Your role in monitoring movements In order to ensure the healthiest outcome for your baby it is important to know them from the start. You may think your task is done now you’ve created the baby but your job doesn’t end there! A baby’s movements are an excellent indicator of its wellbeing and a great bonding opportunity. As your baby develops their number and type of movements will change with their activity pattern. Your baby will have sleep periods that will usually last between 20 and 40 minutes and rarely last longer than 90 minutes, something you could practice in preparation for the newborn days! The number of movements tends to increase until 32 weeks of pregnancy and then stay about the same although the type of movement may change as due date approaches. It is important to remember that babies should not stop moving towards the end and will continue to move right up until labour and often during birth. While your partner may complain that her ribs are imitating a punch bag and her bladder is being used as a football, this is a great sign that your baby is well. You may however find yourself on the receiving end of a sharp tongue if you choose this moment to point this out! There are however constructive ways you can help and be involved. If your partner has had a busy day they may not have noticed the baby move. Having a time when you can sit down together and feel the baby is a great way to monitor movement and bond with your baby. You can also orchestrate opportunities for her to feel the baby move herself. Run her a bath, bring her some chocolate, a cold drink or generally give her the chance to put her feet up and feel the baby kick, flutter, swish and roll! If your partner ever feels uneasy about the pattern of movement or has any bad feelings encourage her to follow her instincts and contact her midwife or hospital. Mums know best! Never ignore a change of movements or allow her to go to sleep following a spell of reduced or erratic movements. Always encourage her to call her midwife or go to the hospital to be checked. You should also remember to be sympathetic to any discomfort your partner feels when the baby is kicking, after all you could be on the receiving end of their kicks for years to come!