Baby/fetal Movements

You will usually start feeling your baby move between 16 and 22 weeks. Some second time mothers feel 'movements' earlier and describe them as a 'bubbly feeling'.

Later in pregnancy, your baby will develop their own pattern of movements. This will range from kicks, flutters and jerks to rolls and ripples. Sometimes your baby will hiccup. You will very quickly get to know the pattern of your baby's movements.

It's a myth that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy.
You can start keeping track of your baby's movement pattern from 24 weeks.


Your midwife will ask about your baby's movements at every appointment from about 25 weeks onwards. Become familiar with your baby's usual daily pattern of movements.

55% women who had a stillbirth noticed their movements had slowed down or stopped, but they didn't report it.

Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well

Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well

Open

Movements Matter

Your baby's movements in pregnancy

Your baby's movements in pregnancy

Open

Useful links

Tommy's - a registered charity. It provides accredited midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents-to-be, and funds research into the causes of pregnancy loss. They fund four maternal and fetal research centres in the UK.


MAMA Academy - a registered charity that supports parents and midwives to help babies arrive safely.

Vaginal Bleeding after 24 weeks

Bleeding can come from anywhere in the birth canal, including the afterbirth (placenta). Occasionally, there may be an abruption, where part of the placenta separates from the uterus, which puts the pregnancy at great risk. If the placenta is low lying, tightenings or contractions may also cause bleeding.

After the 24th week of pregnancy, painful, light to heavy vaginal bleeding is most often caused by placental abruption, in which the placenta becomes partially separated from the wall of the uterus.

Antepartum haemorrhage (APH) is defined as bleeding from or into the genital tract, occurring from 24 weeks.

Low-lying placenta

Low-lying placenta

Download

Blood clots and Reducing the Risks

A venous thrombosis embolism (VTE) refers to the formation of a clot within veins. This can occur anywhere in the venous system but mostly occur in the vessels of the leg (giving rise to deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and in the lungs (resulting in a pulmonary embolism or PE).

A VTE is uncommon in pregnancy and in the first 6 weeks postnatally. It can occur at any stage in pregnancy but the first 6 weeks following birth is the time of highest risk, with the risk increasing by 20-fold.


Risk factors include:

  • previous VTE or thrombophilia (a tendency to form blood clots)
  • increased maternal age
  • admission to hospital during pregnancy
  • other existing health problems such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and pre-eclampsia

 

Anticoagulant (anti-clotting) Injections

You may be advised to start treatment with injections of anticoagulant which is used to thin the blood.

Reducing the risk of venous thrombosis in pregnancy and after birth

Reducing the risk of venous thrombosis in pregnancy and after birth

Open

Breech Presentation

During pregnancy, babies change positions often. By the time labour begins most babies settle into a position that allows them to be born head first. That doesn't always happen though.


Feet first (breech baby)

If your baby is lying feet first with their bottom downwards, they are in the breech position. This can make your birth more complicated.

An obstetrician will discuss with you the best and safest form of care. You will be advised to have your baby in hospital. Your options will include : Planned Caesarean birth, planned vaginal breech birth or external cephalic version (ECV) - turning your baby back to a head down position. As maternity health professionals our role is to provide you with information to support your decision making and to help you understand the potential risks and benefits of the choices that are available to you.

Breech baby at the end of pregnancy

Breech baby at the end of pregnancy

Open

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, usually during the second or third trimester. Women with gestational diabetes don't have diabetes before their pregnancy, and after giving birth it usually goes away. In some women diabetes may be diagnosed in the first trimester, and in these cases the condition most likely existed before pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through a Glucose Tolerance Test at 24-28 weeks into pregnancy.

If you have had the condition in a previous pregnancy you will be tested earlier.

Good management of gestational diabetes helps keep your pregnancy and baby healthy.

Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT)

This blood test is used to determine if you have gestational diabetes or not.

Useful links

Diabetes.org: Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes.org: Gestational Diabetes

Open

Tommy's: Gestational Diabetes

Tommy's: Gestational Diabetes

Open

Tommy's: Testing for Gestational Diabetes

Tommy's: Testing for Gestational Diabetes

Open

Itching in Pregnancy (Obstetric Cholestasis/intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy)

Obstetric cholestasis of pregnancy (OC) is a rare complication of pregnancy. OC is a liver disorder that occurs in around one in 140 pregnancies in the UK. Pregnancy hormones can affect gallbladder function, resulting in slowing or stopping the flow of bile.

The gallbladder holds bile that is produced in the liver, which is necessary in the breakdown of fats in digestion. When the bile flow is stopped or slowed down, it causes a build-up of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

build-up of bile acids in the bloodstream causes a persistent itch, usually starting in the last third of pregnancy.


There can be an increased risk to your baby including stillbirth so your pregnancy will be closely monitored and you may be induced early. The symptoms go when you have your baby.

Useful links

British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

Open

ICP Support

ICP Support

Open

RCOG: Obstetric Cholestasis

RCOG: Obstetric Cholestasis

Open

Tommy's: Obstetric Cholestasis

Tommy's: Obstetric Cholestasis

Open

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.

At each routine antenatal appointment you will have your blood pressure and urine checked.

This is because early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure (hypertension) and protein in your urine (proteinuria). It's unlikely that you'll notice these signs. In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:

  • swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands caused by fluid retention (oedema)
  • severe headache
  • vision problems
  • pain just below the ribs

 


Although many cases are mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if it is not monitored and treated (see below). The earlier pre-eclampsia is diagnosed and monitored, the better the outlook for mother and baby.

If you had this condition in a previous pregnancy, you are more likely to have it again, although it is likely to be less severe and starts later in pregnancy. It is more likely to happen again if you have a new partner.

Useful links

Action on Pre-eclampsia

 (also known as APEC)

 

Action on Pre-eclampsia

 (also known as APEC)

Open

NHS Choices

NHS Choices

Open

Tommy's Charity

Tommy's Charity

Open

Previous Caesarean Birth

If you have had one previous caesarean birth in the past you have a good chance of (around 75%) of having a vaginal birth this time.

This is known as VBAC - vaginal birth after caesarean. You will be offered an appointment with an obstetrician who will discuss with you the reasons for your last caesarean birth and your options for birth this time.

Labour after a previous caesarean birth is monitored more closely and we strongly recommend that you give birth in hospital. This is because of the small risk of your scar tearing. We advise that your baby's heart beat is monitored continuously once your contractions have started.

Birth options after previous caesarean section

Birth options after previous caesarean section

Open

Rupture of Membranes ("Waters breaking")

Your unborn baby lies in an amniotic sac of fluid or 'waters'. 'Waters breaking' means that the sac has ruptured or broken.

Your waters normally break around the time labour is due, but in around 2 in 100 pregnancies they break early for various reasons.

Baby loss

Please visit the Baby loss page