Pregnancy apps are quickly rising in popularity.
What’s better than week by week information in the palm of your hand?
These apps allow pregnant mothers to quickly learn about their pregnancy.
They’re able to get tidbits of information each week which helps to build the excitement as baby develops.
A Popular Pregnancy App Spreads Dangerous Information
Unfortunately, any information can be added to an app. It’s not always correct, and it can even be dangerous.
Midwives from the organisation Tommy’s warn the popular Period Tracker app is spreading dangerously incorrect information.
The Period Tracker app is designed to help women monitor their cycles so they can pinpoint ovulation in hopes of conceiving. Once they conceive, the app provides week by week pregnancy information.
On week 35, the app suggests it’s normal for baby’s movements slow down towards the end of pregnancy.
Midwives, obstetricians and the NHS advise that this information is not only incorrect, it’s dangerous.
Do Babies’ Movements Slow Down Towards The End Of Pregnancy?
Every baby is unique and therefore their movement patterns can vary.
Some babies are incredibly active and nearly every movement is felt by the mother. Other babies are a bit more mellow, or their movements aren’t always felt.
However, your baby’s individual pattern shouldn’t change during the end of pregnancy. If your baby is moving less, it can be a sign baby is unwell.
The NHS advises that any change in baby’s movement, including at the end of pregnancy, be reported to your midwife or doctor.
Why Would The App Suggest Movement Slows Down?
The idea that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy has been repeated quite a bit, but not by professionals in the birth field.
When something gets repeated enough, many will begin to take it as fact. The Period Tracker app adding this tidbit to their app, is a perfect example of this.
It’s possible the idea babies move less at the end of pregnancy originated due to the changes in the type of fetal movements. As baby has less room, they’re unlikely to have big movements like flips and rolls.
However, they’re still using their hands, kicking their feet a bit, wiggling, tugging their cord, etc. A mother should feel movement throughout the duration of her pregnancy once regular movement has been felt, and even through labour.
It is a myth that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy.
Midwife and spokesperson for Tommy’s Midwives, Sophie King, said in an interview:
“It is not true that your baby moves less towards the end of pregnancy, and in fact, if your baby’s movements slow down or ‘diminish’, it’s a sign that they may be unwell and should be checked out by a midwife.”
How Do I Know If My Baby’s Movements Are Changing?
Pregnancy is a time of constant body changes. Once baby begins moving, around 16-24 weeks, you have even more new sensations to feel.
In an effort to reduce stillbirths, public health campaigns encourage mothers to track kick counts. It isn’t something to be overly consumed with all day and all night. However, it is important to keep tabs on your baby’s movement.
When monitoring your baby’s movement, you should contact your midwife or doctor if:
- You feel less than ten movements in a two-hour period as a general guideline, but any changes in your baby’s regular pattern should be reported
- No movement or reduced movement to external stimuli like loud noises, poking your belly, or the sound of familiar voices
- A gradual decrease of movement for more than two consecutive days.
A decrease in movement isn’t always serious. However, it is always worthy of being checked as a decrease in movement can indicate baby is unwell and even in danger.
Be sure to read Baby Kicking – 9 Facts You Need To Know to learn more about the importance of kick count, how to do them, and when to contact your midwife or doctor.
Is The App’s Information Really That Dangerous?
Your baby’s movement provides a key to your baby’s health and wellbeing. Their regular movement lets you know they are well. A lack of movement could indicate a concern.
The Period Tracker suggesting it’s normal to experience a decrease in movement could cause women to prolong the time between noticing less movement and contacting their midwife or doctor.
If a mother quickly responds to a change in her baby’s movement, and the reduced movement is due to a medical complication, urgent medical attention could save baby’s life.
Never wait until the next day, never worry about being silly or overreacting. If you’re concerned about movement, it’s always better to go in and it turn out you didn’t need to, than to not go in and it be too late to provide medical attention.
Be sure to check out BellyBelly’s Pregnancy Week By Week for evidenced based information about your baby and your body.