understanding reduced fetal movement

Our chosen charity partner Tommy’s have kicked off their #movementsmatter campaign, a campaign that challenges dangerous myths about baby movement during pregnancy. That small kick or flutter in your tummy is a sign that your little-one-to-be is well but a reduction in their movements can be a sign that they’re poorly and may be conserving energy. A reduction in fetal movement can present a risk to your baby so it’s important that as a mum-to-be you are aware and know the facts.

Please help Tommy’s save babies’ lives by sharing the film as far and wide as you can.

more information for mums to be

Tommy’s have resources for mums to be on their website, including a leaflet outlining the care that you should expect to receive when you visit hospital with reduced fetal movements, depending on which stage of the pregnancy you are at. Visit

tommy’s survey results

A recent survey conducted by Tommy’s with 1,318 pregnant women found:

• only 15% knew how to monitor fetal movement during pregnancy
• 85% were unaware of the amount of movement to pay attention to
• only 50% would contact a midwife upon noticing reduced movement
• 73% upon noticing would attempt to make the baby move themselves (there’s no evidence that is effective)
• 52% wouldn’t contact a midwife or doctor due to worry about ‘wasting time’

fetal movement myths

• baby movements slow down in the third trimester due to lack of space (although baby’s movements may change in type, their frequency should not)
• a certain amount of kicks is fine
• i can get help tomorrow
• i don’t want to bother the hospital
• i can’t be checked at the weekend or outside 9-5
• i can use a home Doppler for reassurance

jane brewin, ceo of tommy’s

“There are no set number of movements a woman should feel, what is important is that she knows what feels normal for her and her baby. It is not true that babies move less often towards the end of pregnancy, a woman should feel their baby move right up to the time of labour, and during labour too. We urge women to never hesitate to contact their midwife or maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this happens.”

dr matthew jolly, national clinical director for maternity and women’s health at nhs england

"It's crucial that women and their partners feel informed and empowered when monitoring their baby’s movement, acting immediately to seek advice if they are concerned. Raising awareness of the importance of fetal movement through access to clear, consistent advice is key in helping reduce the number of stillbirths."

In the UK, for every 220 babies born, one is stillborn and reduced fetal movement can be a warning sign that there is a risk to your unborn baby. A recent study showed that half of women who had a stillbirth had noticed reduced movements. So if you begin to question your baby’s movements or are experiencing reduced movement, speak to your midwife or doctor immediately.

We know how important it is for all mums-to-be to be aware of their baby’s movements and we whole-heartedly support Tommy’s campaign in raising awareness and, alongside Tommy’s, help reduce the rate of silent delivery rooms.


find out more at

about tommy’s

Tommy's funds research into pregnancy problems and provides information to parents. We believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy and birth. When a pregnancy fails or a baby dies, it causes devastation. Twenty-four years ago, frustrated at the lack of research that meant they could rarely tell families why their babies were dying, two obstetricians in St Thomas' Hospital in London were inspired to start a campaign for more research into pregnancy problems. Soon, their cause was taken up by others and a charity known as 'Tommy's' (after St Thomas' Hospital) was born. That was 1992. Today, we lead the way in maternal and fetal research in the UK.


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