Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well. Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses.
Tommy's has developed a guide to baby movements in partnership with NHS England on baby's movements in pregnancy and it is available in ten languages at the bottom of this page.
How often should my baby move?
There is no set number of normal movements. Your baby will have their own pattern of movements that you should get to know.
From 16-24 weeks on you should feel the baby move more and more up until 32 weeks then stay roughly the same until you give birth.
- It is NOT TRUE that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy.
- You should CONTINUE to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour and whilst you are in labour too.
Get to know your baby’s normal pattern of movements.
You must NOT WAIT until the next day to seek advice if you are worried about your baby’s movements
If you think your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped, contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately (it is staffed 24 hrs, 7 days a week).
- DO NOT put off calling until the next day to see what happens.
- Do not worry about phoning, it is important for your doctors and midwives to know if your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped.
What does a movement feel like?
A baby’s movements or 'kicks' can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses. There is no set number of movements you should be feeling, what is important is that you know what is normal for your baby.
Why are my baby’s movements important?
A reduction in a baby’s movements can sometimes be an important warning sign that a baby is unwell. Two out of three women who had a stillbirth noticed their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped.
Do not use any hand-held monitors, Dopplers or phone apps to check your baby’s heartbeat. Even if you detect a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.
Can I make my baby move?
No, you should not try to make your baby move. If you suspect that movements have slowed, go and get checked out.
Can I use a home doppler to check on my baby?
No you should not use a home doppler as it could give you false reassurance that your baby is OK when they are not.
It is important to be monitored by a CTG or a midwife who can interpret the baby’s heartbeat. The home doppler listens to the baby's heartbeat but the presence of a heartbeat does not indicate the baby is well.
Any interventions that could save a baby needs to be done when the baby has a heartbeat, leaving it until there is no heartbeat is too late.
What happens if my baby's movements have slowed down?
Less than 24 weeks pregnant
If by 24 weeks you have never felt your baby move, you should contact your midwife, who will check your baby’s heartbeat. You may have an ultrasound scan and you may be referred to a specialist fetal medicine centre to check your baby's health.
Between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant
You should contact your midwife or local maternity unit immediately. Do not wait until the next day or next appointment.
You will have a full antenatal check-up. If anything is unusual you may have an ultrasound scan to check on your baby.
Over 28 weeks
You should contact your midwife or local maternity unit immediately. Do not wait until the next day or next appointment.
You will have a full antenatal check-up, your baby's heart rate will be monitored to reassure you about your baby's wellbeing.
An ultrasound scan may be arranged if:
- your womb is smaller than expected
- you have a high risk pregnancy
- the heart rate is normal but you still feel that your baby's movements are slower or less.
If the movements have slowed down does it mean my baby is sick?
Fewer movements could mean that your baby is unwell, but usually these checks reveal that all is well. Most women who have experienced one episode of fewer movements have a straightforward pregnancy and healthy baby. However it is very important that you are checked to make sure everything is OK.
What if my baby’s movements are reduced again?
If, after your check up, you are still not happy with your baby’s movement, you must contact either your midwife or maternity unit straight away, even if everything was normal last time.
NEVER HESITATE to contact your midwife or the maternity unit for advice, no matter how many times this happens.
Download the leaflet
This leaflet is available in the following languages:
Order your Kicks Count wrist band
Charity Kicks Count has designed a wrist band that can help you get you know your baby’s pattern of movement and how much movement is normal for your baby individually. Remember, there is no quota of movement that all mums should feel. Any change to what is normal for your baby should be reported to the midwives at your Maternity Assessment Unit as soon as possible, they’re there to help you and your baby, don’t worry about calling them!
Are you worried about your baby’s reduced movements? This leaflet outlines the care that you should expect to receive, depending on which stage of the pregnancy you are at.
Our #movementsmatter campaign, launched on 24 October, challenges dangerous myths about baby movement during pregnancy, and urges mums-to-be to follow current recommendations about what to do when they experience a change in their baby's movements. The campaign is supported by NHS England and Kicks Count.
It's concerning to see mobile apps that claim to monitor your baby’s heartbeat being promoted in the press
An Evening Standard piece promoting mobile apps for mums-to-be shows why greater awareness about reduced fetal movements is needed.
‘Every time I was worried, I went straight to the hospital for check-ups. I never left it to chance.’
Jo was induced three weeks early with baby Thomas after she reported reduced fetal movements for the fifth time. She says that it was thanks to reading our leaflet on baby movements that she knew what to do and always went to get checked.
Amy's son George was stillborn at 31 weeks after she experienced reduced fetal movements. Her rainbow baby, Sophia Grace, is now nine-months-old.
Camilla delivered son Nicolas in February at 37.4 weeks after reporting reduced fetal movement.
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Reduced fetal movements, Green-top guideline 57, London RCOG, 2011
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Your baby's movements in pregnancy: information for you, London RCOG, 2012
ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2016. Next review date April 1st, 2019.
By Shannon (not verified) on 20 Sep 2018 - 17:54
Im 28weeks pregnant i no a pattern tp my baby moving not much movement since yesturday one of too movement should i be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 15:43
Hi Shannon, Try not to worry but I would suggest that you talk to your midwife and request a referral for a scan. Or you could call your fetal medicine unit and ask advice about movements and monitoring there. Best wishes
By Mia (not verified) on 15 Sep 2018 - 22:09
Hi everytime I have sex my child’s movements are reduced today I’m 25 weeks and she hasn’t been moving much since last night should I be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Sep 2018 - 15:38
Hi Mia, It may be co-incidental that you are linking sexual activity to reduced movements. If you have concerns about the baby's movements, please speak to your midwife. We would expect a woman to notice a pattern of movement by about 24 weeks but of course this pattern will include some periods of rest when the baby is sleeping.
Best wishes Tommy's midwives
By maletsatsi (not verified) on 19 Sep 2018 - 21:28
i am 11 weeks the fetus was start to mobe but since last week friday there is no movements up until today, nd i feel cramps at the back bone
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 15:40
Hi, It is too soon to feel the movements at 11 weeks. At this stage the uterus is still within the pelvis and the baby is too small for you to feel the movements. It may be that you are feeling other stomach rumbles. Please try not to worry. The movements will become more obvious and a pattern will be evident by 24 weeks. Take care
By Sinead (not verified) on 22 Aug 2018 - 17:52
Hi, I was wondering do weaker movements count as reduced? 28 weeks still getting plenty of movement but very weak compared to usual, this baby has had very strong kicks from very early. Thanks
By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Aug 2018 - 12:03
Hi Sinead, Thank you for your comment.
We would recommend that if you are experiencing any change in your baby's movements then you need to call your local maternity day assessment unit just to be checked over. It is reassuring that you are still feeling baby move but as they have changed from the normal pattern you are used to then just call to be checked over. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Ruth kulundu (not verified) on 14 Aug 2018 - 05:17
I started feeling the swimming movement at three months at four months too now in my 5th month that is now 20 weeks I only feel two kicks aday or just few kicks and sometimes no kick and am really worried this movements ain't like the first time
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Aug 2018 - 15:03
Any concern about reduced fetal movements, we suggest that you go into your local maternity unit traige/labour ward as soon as possible to be reviewed by a midwife and doctor.
Here is a link about how to vocalize your concerns ...https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/health-professionals/free-pregnancy-resources/leaflet-reporting-reduced-fetal-movements
Get yourself seen as quickly as you can to put your mind at ease.
All the best, Tommy's Midwife
By Sarah (not verified) on 20 Jul 2018 - 15:43
Hi, im 22 weeks (23 weeks on Sunday 22nd July). I’m a little worried not sure if I’m overthinking too much but I’ve felt the odd kick and fitter but I am quite an active person therefore may not always notice. As I’m a first time mum some of the flutters I’m not sure if subconsciously I’m thinking they are kicks or not... any reassurance will be fab! (I’m currently on a baby moon In France) Thanks Sx
By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Jul 2018 - 14:57
Hi Sarah, Most women feel movements by the time they are 24 weeks so there is no need to worry, you can enjoy your holiday in France. Have you had your anomaly scan? It can be very reassuring when you see that all is well. If you don't feel a pattern of movements by 24 weeks please arrange to see your midwife.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Jul 2018 - 16:11
Yes I’ve had my anomaly scan and all is well he’s growing and everything is fine. I also have an anterior placenta which could also cushion my movements. I’m at the midwifes on 7th August for my 25 week check up so will also mention then or get booked in earlier once I’m home. Thanks Sx
By Chelsea (not verified) on 16 Jun 2018 - 11:24
Hi, im 24 weeks pregnant yesterday he barely moved at all he moved a bit in the morning and at night but only for a short period of time. As he would normally be really active throughtout the day. And this morning he has only moved a bit but still no kicking. Do i go seek help?
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jun 2018 - 16:22
Usually at 24 weeks, we would advise that you are seen by a doctor or midwife to listen to the baby's heartbeat and to make an assessment of growth. If this is smaller than expected, you would be referred for a scan at your local maternity unit. Hope this helps x
By Leah (not verified) on 13 May 2018 - 16:00
My son was a little slow this morning but I didn’t get up until late and he’s movement doesn’t wake me - I have felt him move and role since so I’m not sure if I should be worried . Thanks x
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 May 2018 - 09:18
Any change in movement pattern for you, if it concerns you, is worth getting reviewed. Whether that's a decrease in usual movements, or a change to the type of movements that you feel. It is always best to get it checked out, mostly for peace of mind. You can go to your maternity unit's day assessment unit/pregnancy triage for a review by a midwife and Dr there. Please remember to take your pregnancy notes with you.
All the best
By Charlaine (not verified) on 24 Apr 2018 - 09:34
My baby never stopped all day and night yesterday. I went to MAU and a ctg was done and said all is well. This morning baby is moving but not as excessive as yesterday. Should I worry about this changes. One day very excessive and next day low movements?
By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Apr 2018 - 14:58
Hi Charlaine, Thank you for your comment.
We would always advise to go and get checked over if you are at all worried about your baby's movements, be it too much or too little, if you have noticed a change then please go in again and be checked over. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong but it is better to be checked and feel reassured then to keep worrying. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Holly (not verified) on 7 Mar 2018 - 20:47
Hi, I’m 27+5 weeks and over the past week or so I have noticed my baby’s movements have changed. They used to be more ‘smaller’ movements that I would feel low down and more ‘fluttery’. Now there are fewer movements but are ‘bigger’ more like jabs than movements. I have been checked out as reported the reduce in movement using a CTG and then had a well-being scan which showed growth, placenta, fluid and Cord Doppler to be all good and I know I can go back in anytime to be checked again, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s just the type of movement that has changed rather than a pattern? Is this possible or is any change a reason to be concerned? Thanks in advance I am constantly worrying about this x
By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Mar 2018 - 12:13
Hi Holly, Thank you for your comment.
As babies grow, movements can be more defined then the flutters that are felt in the early stages of pregnancy, but everyone experiences them differently. However, we strongly suggest that even though you are feeling baby move, if there is a change like you describe and you are unsure then going in to be checked over is the best thing. It can be worrying when you are unsure what you are looking for but just trust your instincts, it is better to go in and be checked over then you can be reassured. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Bev (not verified) on 15 Feb 2018 - 10:36
Hello, I'm 40 weeks plus 5. I had a sweep yesterday and since i went to bed last night i feel like baby's movements have reduced. I also feel like all the pressure I've had in my pelvis has gone and my stomach feels as what i can only describe as lighter and i feel so tired. Should i be worried?
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Feb 2018 - 12:27
Hi Bev, Thank you for your comment.
We would recommend that if you are worried about your baby's movements then you need to call your local maternity hospital and be checked over as soon as you can. It may be that your baby has really gone down into the pelvis that is why you are feeling lighter, many women feel lighter in their chest and find it easier to breath as their baby has dropped down.
Either way, you still need to call your labour ward or day assessment unit and be seen because of the reduction in your baby's movements. They will check baby and do a full antenatal check on yourself. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Bev (not verified) on 15 Feb 2018 - 16:11
By Chloe (not verified) on 9 Feb 2018 - 21:14
Hi I've been to the hospital 3 times now with reduced movements have been told baby is on the small side, also have been put on fragmin, protien in my urine, if it carries on what's likely to happen sorry 1st baby so not sure what to expect.
By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2018 - 15:14
Hi -Thank you for your message.
Its great that you are keeping an eye on your babies movements and really proactive in seeking advice when you are concerned - any changes in baby's movements should always be reported and checked by your midwife/doctor.
If you have been told your baby is measuring small, then your baby will need extra monitoring and checks, movements again really matter and change should be reported asap.
I would advise requesting an urgent appointment with the consultant who is overseeing your care so you can discuss all the options and any concerns you have.
And keep doing the good work and keeping a close eye on your baby's movements.
By Siobhan (not verified) on 28 Jan 2018 - 22:27
Hi im 18 weeks pregnant, will sometimes feel small flutters, and what feels like little punches, then other times nothing. Is it too early to try and work out a pattern?
By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2018 - 16:45
Yes, It's lovely that you are feeling some movements now but still too early to see a pattern. This should be easier after your 24th week. Best wishes
By Kandy Jay (not verified) on 19 Jan 2018 - 20:49
Hi, i had two anatomy ultra sounds, all are saying the heatbeat of my baby is good, but today i saw my OB, she sad the heartbeat is very good, she is not worried. My baby is active , alwys playing, am 23 weeks
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jan 2018 - 11:16
That's great news. Glad the baby is well. Now you can enjoy the movements and be reassured by them.
By shany (not verified) on 19 Jan 2018 - 11:31
Hi I'm 38weeks, my baby has been super active, but the past 2 days his movements slowed down, I'm worried something might be wrong with him.
By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Jan 2018 - 13:39
If you have noticed that your baby's movements have slowed down over the last couple of days then it is really important that you ring your maternity unit straight away and go in to be reviewed. Please do not put off calling, it is important that you and your baby are monitored today.
Take care x
By Elizabeth brett (not verified) on 14 Jan 2018 - 19:46
Hi there I previously had a still birth at 36 weeks am now 27 weeks in a new pregnancy and have been to the home today as I’ve had sluggish movements since last night. Heart beat was 156 but still my movements don’t feel right I’ve been given an appointment for the morning for my specialist but carnt stop panicking thinking will that be to late. What should I do ?
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jan 2018 - 12:37
Hi. Unfortunately our hours are 9-5pm Monday to Friday so I assume that you have now been seen by your specialist. Hope all well and don't hesitate to contact us again if we can support you.
By Shahna Woolley (not verified) on 7 Jan 2018 - 16:43
I am 24 and not felt the baby move she has slowed right down
By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2018 - 10:41
If you are concerned that your baby's movements have slowed down or changed in some way, then it is ALWAYS best for you to go into your hospital labour ward/triage/day assessment unit ASAP today if you have not already done so. Just to put your mind at ease and to get a little review by a midwife and obstetric doctor. Feel free to contact us again if we can be of any further assistance to you. Sophie, Tommy's Midwife
By Sophie (not verified) on 1 Dec 2017 - 14:09
Hi, I am 25+1 today. I went into my maternity triage department on Tuesday as I had experienced reduced movements for a few days. The midwife did a fundal and used a Doppler, as well as doing a urine test. The doctor and Midwife were happy with everything and said my baby had a good strong heartbeat and had no concerns about him, but I am still really struggling.
I thought we had developed a pattern but it seems to have changed a bit Over the past few weeks. I do have a busy work life and sometimes during the day I feel him a lot less than I would expect to, and not as strongly. I suppose I am asking how often is ‘normal’?? Sometimes I can go a few hours without feeling any movements, and then feel a kick or two, to then have a period of quiet again....
Should I be feeling him more than 4 times a day? The triage told me to phone whenever I’m concerned, but I’m worried I’ll be phoning up all the time and also stressing both me and my baby. My other half tells me not to worry, but I can’t help it. It’s my first pregnancy if that wasn’t obvious from my questions...
By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Dec 2017 - 15:51
Firstly I really want to stress that it is always so important to ask if you are unsure of anything, please do not put off calling or asking for advice or support if you need it, it is exactly what midwives are here for. At 25 weeks of pregnancy it sometimes is a little tricky to monitor baby's pattern, and sometimes some babies do not really ever develop a pattern that is easy to recognise. For some babies they maybe really active at night, but not move much in the day at all. In addition, if you are busy in the day as you said, it is easy to not always feel movements or remember feeling them.
There is no specific 'normal' each baby and pregnancy is different. Please try not to get too worried or stressed (easy said than done I know!) but do ring up triage just to talk things through, or of course you can call or ring us too (0800 0147 800 or [email protected]). Take care x
By Hannah (not verified) on 20 Nov 2017 - 12:56
Hi, I am 21 weeks and I am worried about reduced movement. I had my 20 week scan last week and all was ok and he has been really active. I have noticed he is really active in the morning and at night. I felt him move last night but reduced and since then I have felt nothing, is it too soon to get this checked out? Thanks
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Nov 2017 - 15:54
Thank you for posting I know that you are worrying and it is so good that you've got in touch. At 21 weeks of pregnancy the baby has plenty of room to move and it is too early to be monitoring a pattern but by 24 weeks we always advise that if movement patterns have slowed down and if you are not feeling your baby move as you would expect to you should contact your midwife or maternity department immediately.
Movements are a key indicator of the baby's health and can be a warning sign that the baby is becoming unwell.
We strongly advise women not to rely on home dopplers or phone apps to check their baby's heartbeat as it is not possible to pick up an unwell baby by this method.
You may find this link helpful https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/reduced-fetal-movements-my-babys-movements-have-slowed-down
When you are busy you might not be as aware of your little one's movements so try and take some time out after a meal or zone in when you have a quiet moment. As your baby gets bigger his movements will be more obvious.
Best wishes and get in touch if you have any other questions
By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Oct 2017 - 15:36
Hi I'm 24 weeks +5 days. My baby has been really active all weekend up until tuesday. Ive felt the odd big movements and a few little ones. I don't know if I'm nervous this time because I'm running around after my toddler alot and he hit my belly yesterday with his hand. My partner told me to worrying because she's just sleeping. I have a scan tomorrow afternoon booked anyway for another check up should I wait until then to see if the baby is okay.
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Oct 2017 - 16:01
We would always recommend that any change in frequency or pattern of movements, at any gestation of pregnancy, is reviewed urgently.
It sounds like you are worried about both a change in movements, and about the type of movement that you are feeling. To be on the safe side, it is always best to get it checked out at your local labour ward/triage or day assessment unit. Despite having a scan booked for tomorrow, it is probably best to take yourself in before then as this has gone on for a little while now. Don't forget your pregnancy book too! It is always best get checked over if in doubt! Take good care of yourself!
By S (not verified) on 16 Oct 2017 - 16:43
I will be 23 weeks tomorrow. I started feeling my baby moving (like muscle twitching) since 19 weeks. The movements was increasing steadily until 6 days ago when for 2 days the baby's movement were really really strong and constant- so much so I felt the movement when I was moving about, which hadnt really happened before. However after 2 days of this increased movement, the movements have reduced for the past four days.
This is really stressing me out. Should I be worried. I called the my non-urgent local midwife team 4 days ago and they said that I should not be worried. But I could not stop worrying so I called and left a phone message to the local midwife team yesterday morning. However, I have not heard anything back. I am really really stressed because all the information talks about having to worry about reduced movement after 28 weeks onwards- but what about at 23 weeks? Should I be concerned? Please advise.
By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Oct 2017 - 08:51
Thank you for getting in touch I am so sorry that you are feeling really stressed and unsure about reduced movements. I understand that you are 23 weeks today. We expect all Mums to feel their baby moving by 24 weeks and you had a strong and definite pattern developing which has now altered.
I am not sure where you are in the country but you should have the contact details on the front of your maternity notes for the MAU (Maternal Assessment Unit) or DAU (Day Assessment Unit). This is like an A&E for pregnant women and I want you to call them this morning and go in. You are not wasting anyone's time and you are worried so it is important for your own peace of mind that you get checked out. They will do an antenatal check and listen to your baby's heartbeat.
Sometimes we don’t know why women don’t feel their baby move. In your case it may be due to you being 23 weeks. The baby still has lots of room to move around and his/her limb movements are not as obvious yet as an older baby. We do know that you are less likely to feel movements if you are busy or active. An anterior placenta (at the front of a Mum's uterus) can affect how a mother perceives the movements, as it acts like a cushion, but should never mean that reduced movements shouldn't be investigated. A high BMI (body mass index) can also affect the perception of movements in some women.
I have included some links that might be useful. They also break down the weeks so that you know what to expect and what you should do if you are concerned. Perhaps have a print out of them in the front of your notes or accessible on your phone.
At 23 weeks it is a little less clear as to what to do as you said in your post. Your baby has had a very obvious and active pattern and it has now changed and you are worried it makes perfect sense to be seen today.
Our latest campaign is #AlwaysAsk. It doesn’t matter how many times you go in if it helps to reassure you that all is well.
Please get in touch with us on the PregnancyLine 0800 0147 800 if you have any worries however small as that's what we are here for.
By s (not verified) on 17 Oct 2017 - 16:42
Thank you very very much for replying to my post. After reading your message I called local midwife team again (I am living in England). After speaking to onduty midwife, she asked me to come and have the baby's heart beat checked.
During the appointment, we heard the baby's heartbeat:) and I started crying with relief.
I am very grateful to the midwife who called and checked me, and to you Anna too. Thanks!!
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Oct 2017 - 16:03
We are really pleased to hear that! Great news! Take care of yourself!
By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Oct 2017 - 14:37
I am 26 weeks today and have a cervical sitch. I have not been feeling baby as much for the past two days. Should I go in?
By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Oct 2017 - 11:32
Hi there. Yes, please do go into hospital to be reviewed. If you have noticed a reduction in the movements or a change to the type of movements, then it is best to get a quick review to put your mind at ease. Please take good care of yourself and bump!
By Esther (not verified) on 29 Sep 2017 - 11:02
I am 17 weeks and 6 days but I have never felt the baby kicks or move. Should I be concerned?
By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Sep 2017 - 13:03
Most mums feel baby movements between 16 and 24 weeks.
You do not need to be concerned. However if you have any further concerns such as bleeding or pain please contact your local maternity unit.
Feel free to contact us on our helpline on 0800 0147 800 for more information also.