The following information has been agreed by numerous organisations including the NHS, Royal College of Midwives, Tommys and RCOG. This is the official advice that should be given to women about movements during their pregnancy. It's really helpful to familiarise yourself with the current advice, so you can advise people accurately.

When should I start to feel movement?

Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses.

How often should my baby move?

There is no set number of normal movements. Your baby will have their own pattern of movements that you should get to know. From 16 – 24 weeks on you should feel the baby move more and more up until 32 weeks then stay roughly the same until you give birth.

What shall I do if I notice reduced movement?

If you think your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped, contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately (it is staffed 24 hours, 7 days a week). Do not put off calling until the next day to see what happens. Do not worry about phoning, it is important for your doctors and midwives to know if your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped. Do not use any hand-held monitors, dopplers, or phone apps to check your baby’s heartbeat. Even if you detect a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.

What if my baby’s movements are reduced again?

If, after your check up, you are still not happy with your baby’s movements, you must contact either your midwife or maternity unit straight away, even if everything was normal last time. Never hesitate to contact your midwife or the maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this happens.

Why are my baby’s movements important?

A reduction in a baby’s movements can sometimes be an important warning sign that a baby is unwell. Two out of three women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped.

  • It is NOT true that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy
  • You should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour and whilst you are in labour too.

Holly's Words of Wisdom!

Holly Willougby kindly made this video and it's a hit with mums! It's a great resource to watch and share.

What about Increased Movements?

Baby movements are expected to increase gradually until 32 weeks, when they should then level off (but, of course, not reduce) so mums can anticipate that happen. There is no current evidence or research to say that an erratic increase in movement it definately a potential problem, so there's no official guidance.

However, we do encourage people to report ANY change that worries them and doesn't feel like their baby's normal - most importantly, mums should trust their instincts and listen to their body and baby if they feel there is anything that isn't right. 

Anterior Placenta: What does it mean to have an anterior placenta?

The placenta develops wherever the fertilised egg embeds into your uterus. Your sonographer will check the position of your placenta during your 20-week scan, to ensure its position won't affect your pregnancy. An anterior placenta simply means your placenta is attached to the front wall of your uterus, between the baby and your tummy. It's a completely normal place for it to implant and develop. It isn't connected to having a low-lying placenta (called placenta previa) and it shouldn't cause you problems.

What difference does it make to my baby's movements?

Most women first feel their baby move somewhere between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. It's common for anterior placenta mums to feel first movements later than those with a placenta elsewhere, as their placenta cushions those early wriggles. Regardless of placenta position, if you reach the 24th week of pregnancy without feeling movement, let your midwife know.

As your pregnancy progresses, it's important to get to know your baby's normal pattern of movement. If you have an anterior placenta try and focus on your sides and lower down, as this is where you're more likely to feel movement.

Although feeling movement can be trickier for anterior placenta mums, your baby should still develop regularity to their movement. If you feel as though your baby's movements have slowed down or stopped, it's important not to assume your placenta is the reason. Call your midwife or maternity unit straight away if you have any concerns.