baby news

Video: Tommy's help mums-to-be understand fetal movement

Tommy's campaign raises what pregnant women need to know about their unborn baby’s movements during pregnancy

Campaign highlights importance of fetal movement in pregnancy

Your unborn baby moving is a sign all is well so it’s important to understand what to do if movements change

Bounty mums shared their experiences to help our friends at Tommy’s understand what mums really understand about fetal movement in pregnancy. As a result, Tommy's launched a campaign to raise awareness to all pregnant women about the importance of fetal movement in their pregnancy. 

The campaign, #movementsmatter was sparked after Tommy’s conducted a survey of 1,318 pregnant women and discovered only 15% knew how to correctly monitor their unborn baby’s movements during pregnancy. It was also discovered that 55% women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped but hadn’t reported it. 

The campaign is designed to help pregnant women understand what to expect from their unborn baby’s movements and when to raise the alarm if needed. There are also a number of myths surrounding the issue that the campaign aims to dispel.

Tommy’s, supported by NHS England and charity Kicks Count, is challenging some of the prevalent and incorrect thinking about fetal movement. 

These include:

  • 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 change) 
  • 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 

To understand what movement you should expect from your unborn baby and what changes that warrant raising alarm to your midwife, take a look at what to expect from your baby’s movements at

In June 2016, Tommy’s conducted a survey in partnership with the Bounty Word of Mum panel. The survey included a number of questions about baby movements, including: when they first felt their baby move; what they would do if they felt their baby moving less; and what would prevent them from calling the midwife. 
Although 95% of pregnant women are aware that baby’s movements are important, 85% were unaware of how much movement they should be watching for. Only half of women would call a midwife promptly on noticing reduced movement and a massive 73% would delay asking for help and try to do something to make the baby move, despite there being no evidence at all for the effectiveness of this. More than half (52%) would avoid calling the midwife/hospital due to worry about ‘wasting time’ or ‘being a nuisance’.

A baby moving during pregnancy can be anything from a flutter, kick, swish or roll and these are a sign that your baby is doing well. When a baby is unwell, they may conserve energy by slowing down their movements. The thinking is that if this symptom is reported promptly there is a window of opportunity that if there is a problem, swift action can be and the unborn baby’s life can be saved. 

Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s said in relation to the campaign: “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.”

Video: Tommy's help mums-to-be understand fetal movement