During the nine months of pregnancy a woman has many exciting and amazing experiences. There is a pleasant emotional feeling when the baby inside the womb squirms and kicks around for the first time. For every pregnant woman fetal movement is the first sign of fetal life and his well being. The mother starts to experience fetal movement between 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Medical fraternity refers fetal movements as ‘quickening’.
A woman pregnant for the first time may not be able to realize the gentle kicks and swish easily. It may take some more time to feel it.However, a multiparous woman may experience it as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy. Gradually the movement will become strong and frequent. But sometimes she may feel that her baby is not moving much or fetal movement has decreased. Numbers of factors are responsible for it, some of which may be cause of concern.
What Are The Reasons For Decreased Fetal Movement?
There are several causes of baby not moving much in the womb. Sometimes it may not be alarming but some causes may be concerning. However, if there is any episode of reduced movement she has to consult her midwife or health care provider.Normally the pregnant woman is more likely to feel the movement in lying position rather than sitting or standing.
- Fetus taking rest: Just like everyone else the baby in womb also has sleep cycles. The baby usually sleeps for 20 to 40 minutes. During this resting period the mother may not feel movement of her baby. But if the baby does not move for more than 2 hours than she needs to asses and talk with her doctor. Often mothers notice that more they are active, less is the baby movement.
- Lack of nutrition or stress: Mothers emotional and physical state has direct impact on the baby in many spheres including movement. When mother is intensely stressed her body releases hormones which can cause the baby to move less or lie still. Eating less or dehydration can also influence movement of baby. Doctors thus recommend taking proper nutrition for betterment of baby as well as the pregnant woman. In such case, the mother should drink one glass of water, eat some snack and sit quiet. It encourages the baby to start kicking and fluttering.
- Premature rupture of membrane: Reduced movement can occur if there is a leak or rupture of the amniotic sac that protects the baby. Rupture of membrane normally occurs during the due date, but if it occurs prematurely, water may leak out from the sac. This may lead to nutrition and oxygen deficiency resulting in reduced movement.
- Fetal hypoxia: Umbilical cord is the main life line for the fetus. Nutrition and oxygen is supplied to the baby from the mother through it. If the umbilical cord gets twisted or compressed, enough oxygen cannot be delivered to the fetus. This may lead harm the development of brain, lungs and other organs. Fetus experiencing low level of oxygen will move less to preserve energy.
- Placenta abruption: Placenta is attached to the walls of uterus. Umbilical cord arises from the placenta, thus it is the main source of nourishment for the fetus. Sometimes placenta gets detached from the walls of uterus, if it is minor detachment it will heal on its own. But if the placenta is completely separated, it may restrict the flow of oxygen and blood to the baby. This is serious condition and if not treated on time it can be detrimental for fetus as well as the mother.
- Fetal death: In small percentage of cases, reduced movement of fetus inside the womb may be a sign of fetal death. The exact cause of death is not known in many cases, but sometimes it may be related to trauma or infection.