Fetal movement can be noted by sonography starting from week 7 – 8 week. But the mother will start feeling the fetus movements around week 16 – 20.
The movement feels like flutters, kicks or rolls and gets more intense as the pregnancy progresses.
The fetus can get more active during the afternoon and the evening.
The mother will not be able to notice her fetal movement when she is busy.
Also, fetal movements might be felt less when the mother is standing or sitting and felt more while lying down, specially on the left side.
Movement may decrease due to fetal sleep as fetus sleep cycle is 30 minutes (+/- 10 minutes) and sometimes reaches 90 minutes in some pregnancies.
Fetal movements counting:
1. 4 kicks or moves in an hour when concentrating on counting and lying on the left side.
2. 10 kicks during 12 hours when the mother is not concentrating.
What should the mother do if she experience a decrease in fetal movement?
The mother should go to the emergency room within two hours to be evaluated and should NOT wait until the next day.
The evaluation includes fetal heart rate test, non-stress test and ultrasound.
What after the decrease of movements?
If back to normal: Mother can go back to her normal routine and must visit the doctor if the decrease happens again.
In case of persistent decrease:
a. Before week 37 of pregnancy: non-stress test and ultrasound examination twice a week.
b. Mothers of ≥37 weeks and <39: either early delivery, or fetal testing twice a week until week 39 then delivery is suggested at that time.
c. Mothers of ≥39 weeks of pregnancy: delivery is recommended.