Be aware of your baby’s movements

On a hot January day, Kylie noticed that her normally active baby hadn’t moved as much as normal. Kylie’s story is a timely reminder for all mums-to-be to tune in to their baby’s movements.


At 35 weeks pregnant with her first child, Kylie grabbed a glass of cold water and went to lie down.

“Even though I could feel him move a bit more, I was still worried that it wasn’t as much as normal,” she says.

Kylie immediately went to her maternity hospital, where fetal monitoring revealed the start of pre-eclampsia.

Kylie’s story is a timely reminder for all mums-to-be to tune in to their baby’s movements. A mother is aware of her baby’s movements from around 16 weeks with monitoring particularly important in the third trimester.

Red Nose’s chief midwife Jane Wiggill says it’s important for pregnant women to get to know their bub’s natural pattern and strength of movement.

“An active baby is a healthy baby, and a baby will move at least 10 times in a two-hour period when it is awake,” Jane says.

“Some babies do move more than this, and babies should move regularly right up until and including labour.”

While Jane says babies do have sleep periods, they don’t last for long periods of time.

“A baby’s sleep period should last between 20 and 40 minutes,” she says.

Another important tip is to find ways to remember to check your baby’s movements when you are busy.

“Summer holidays can be an especially busy time, so just remember to check in with yourself and your baby regularly,” Jane says.

It’s also easier to feel you baby’s movements when you are resting and concentrating on feeling for movements.

“And always remember, contact your midwife, obstetrician or maternity hospital on the day that you are worried about your baby’s movements,” says Jane.

“Decreased movement may be a sign that your baby is unwell, so never wait until the next day.”

For more Safe and Healthy Pregnancy Advice, visit our Advice Hub.

Last modified: 1/6/21