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Lack of Fetal Movement in the Last Trimester

author image Barbie Carpenter
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.
Lack of Fetal Movement in the Last Trimester
Make yourself aware of fetal movement every day.

Feeling your baby move is one of the highlights of pregnancy, and this movement changes throughout your nine months. The first signs of movement during your second trimester feel like flutters. By the third trimester, you are feeling kicks and punches, some of which you can even see from the outside. Although movement can slow down as the pregnancy ends, a lack of fetal movement can also signal a problem.

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Movement Slowdown

Movement can slow down as you get closer to your due date for one simple reason: the baby is running out of room to move. While he used to be flipping and rolling in your womb, he simply does not have the space to do that anymore. Ideally, your baby has moved himself to the head-down position and will stay there in preparation for delivery. Less movement, then, can be a natural progression of the pregnancy.

Lack of Movement

A total lack of movement, however, is a cause for concern, so contact your health care provider as soon as you notice a lack of movement. Your doctor will likely want to see you to check for the baby's heartbeat or even perform an ultrasound to rule out any potential complications with the pregnancy. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor about lack of movement--it is better to be safe than sorry.

Kick Counts

Many doctors encourage their patients to do kick counts every day to keep track of the baby's movement. You can perform kick counts throughout the pregnancy, all the way through your last trimester. Kick counting will inform you of any lack of movement right away. The general rule for kick counts is feeling 10 movements--kicks, jabs, rolls--within a two-hour period. If you feel anything less than that, call your doctor.

Encouraging Movement

If you're busy and moving around yourself, you might not notice the baby moving--but that doesn't mean he isn't. Set aside time every day during your last trimester to focus on your baby's movement. Lie on your left side and feel for kicks. Drinking a glass of cold drink or juice with some sugar in it can encourage movement and wake up your sleeping baby.

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