So being a midwife everyone assumes that you know everything and therefore will be an expert at all things pregnancy. I mean yes, of course I would like to think I know most things. Before maternity leave I spent my days giving women advice about their growing bumps filled with precious little miracles.
But, there is one big but… when you are carrying your own precious little miracle, all the information you’ve gathered and knowledge you have gained, goes out the window.
Now as most of you will know I have recently given birth to my gorgeous baby boy. He is my first child, so being a first time mummy, I was just like every other. I wasn’t a midwife, I was just an expectant mummy. From the second you know there is a tiny little peanut growing inside, you develop this overwhelming instinct to protect them.
During my pregnancy I had an anterior (at the front) placenta, now this means that my baby’s kicks were cushioned as such, meaning that I couldn’t feel him kick as much or as strong as say a mummy with a posterior (at the back) placenta. Now of course, this means that your baby should still move as much as normal, but maybe the pattern your baby develops isn’t as active as another, or maybe it is but you just can’t feel it as much. Every baby and every mummy is different. You will get to know your own baby’s pattern of movements. Or so they say… I found it really difficult to work out my baby’s pattern, he never seemed to move much at all. Maybe he was just lazy, not sure where he gets that trait from. This didn’t stop me worrying about him, I would spend my days filled with worry, pleading him to give me a little reassuring kick just so I knew he was ok.
Having been a qualified midwife for over 4 years, I have seen many women coming into the triage unit, complaining that there baby isn’t moving much, and just wanting that reassurance that their little one is ok. Mostly when I would see those women, as soon as they heard the heartbeat on the monitor, the baby would then go into a dancing frenzy, leaving a very embarrassed mummy, pleading honesty that the baby hadn’t done this all day. And then there were the times where I would be putting the heartbeat monitor on to an ever growing bump and I would be able to feel the baby moving and kicking around happily, excitedly saying to the expectant Mum, there you go look, baby is moving fine, only to get back that they couldn’t feel it.
Never having had a baby myself, I thought this was the strangest thing, maybe they just liked coming in and hearing the heartbeat, maybe they just wanted the reassurance from a professional. Who knew.
Well now I know! It’s all true. Having now been through it myself! My colleagues at work asking why I had such a worried look on my face, knowing that I just desperately wanted my baby to move so I knew he was ok, there I found myself, being a patient, time and time again, and being the same embarrassed faced mummy that as soon as the straps touched my tummy my baby would start dancing to the tune of his own heartbeat.
Now over the years the advice has changed on baby’s movements. It used to be counting how many times a day your baby moved, however we all know everyone is different, little growing babies included, some are crazy and move 24 hours a day, and some not so crazy and may only move once or twice a day. That’s fine. That’s why the advice changed to ‘whatever is normal for your baby’. Only you know your growing baby best. Only you know when it is normal for your baby to move and how much. Saying this, one thing I did find valuable whilst I was pregnant was the ‘Kicks Count’ app. It has a kick counter on there which I used numerous times.
There were many days at the end of my pregnancy were I was super busy moving house (yes I know, call me crazy but it seems the done thing to move house at 36 weeks pregnant) and on some of those days I would stop and wonder ‘have I felt my baby move today’ Days when you are super busy, you just don’t often think about it. Those were the days I used the app, I made myself sit down with a cold drink and opened the app. I would make myself sit there for an hour, just concentrating on the most important thing, my baby. Every time I felt a little kick, I would press the button on the app. At the end of the hour I would look back and think, oh yes he is moving lots, I just had been too busy to notice. It just gave me the reassurance that he was still kicking about as he should. Especially with baby brain well and truly setting in, it just gave me a visual to look back on.
The most important thing is that your baby is moving normally for you. The app is great to have just for some slight reassurance, however if you are at all worried about your baby, then please contact your local maternity triage unit. Midwives are always there to give you reassurance and advice to ensure that your precious little bubba is dancing away inside as he/she should be.
My top tips:
* If you have had a busy day, take an hour for yourself to just concentrate on the most important thing. Whether that be having a soak in the bath or going to sit on the sofa.
* Keep well hydrated. If you are worried about your baby’s movements, have something cold to drink or something sugary to eat
* If you are still concerned, please call or attend your triage unit for reassurance the same day.
Kicks count app!