Baby moving little in the tummy: when to worry?

Baby moving little in the tummy: when to worry?


The decrease in the baby’s movements is worrying when there are less than 4 movements per hour, especially in women with a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, problems with the placenta, changes in the uterus or use of substances such as alcohol or cigarettes.

Fetal movements can begin to be felt from the 16th week of pregnancy, but there are women who can feel movements later, around 22 weeks, depending on whether it is the first pregnancy and the location of the placenta. However, counting movements is only usually easy from the 28th week of pregnancy. Understand when it is normal to start feeling the baby move.

When the baby presents a marked decrease in the number of movements, it is very important to consult the obstetrician, as this may indicate that the baby is receiving less oxygen, making it necessary to identify the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

Illustrative image number 1

How to count fetal movements

Movement counting should always be done during a period of the day when the baby is most active, normally after a meal. The movements made during 1 hour must be counted, with the normal average being between 4 and 6 movements per hour, but which can reach up to 15 or 20 movements per hour.

Another way to count is to check how long it takes the baby to make 10 movements, and medical help should be sought if the 10 movements take more than 2 hours to make.

When decreased movement is not a concern

Some women get used to the baby moving in their belly and, therefore, after a while they may stop noticing their movements, which can be confused with a decrease in fetal movements.

Furthermore, fasting and dehydration can also result in reduced fetal movements, which is why it is recommended that pregnant women eat and hydrate very well during the day.

In any case, whenever there is a suspicion of reduced fetal movements, it is very important to consult an obstetrician.

How to encourage your baby to move

Some tricks that can be used to encourage the baby to move are:

  • Drink very cold liquids;
  • To walk;
  • Talk to the baby and move the belly with your hands;
  • Eat sweet food;
  • Lie with your feathers up, supported by pillows or the head of the bed, and relax.

Reducing movements should take into account the rhythm of each child, but if the baby does not move after using these tips for 2 hours, you should talk to the doctor to receive further guidance or, if necessary, carry out tests to check the baby’s well-being. baby.

What is the danger of reduced movement

Decreased movement may indicate that the fetus is in distress, lacking oxygen or nutrients to maintain adequate development. If not treated quickly, the baby can go into fetal distress, which can cause premature birth and damage to the baby’s nervous system, causing problems such as mental disorders or epilepsy.

However, if the pregnancy is monitored correctly and all prenatal exams are carried out, any problem in the baby’s well-being is identified early, facilitating its treatment. Furthermore, it is essential to clarify any doubts with your doctor and seek help when changes are noticed.

We regularly update our content with the latest scientific information, so that it maintains an exceptional level of quality.

  • AUSTRALIAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN. Decreased fetal movements: a practical approach in a primary care setting. Disponível em: <,gestation)%2C%20smoking%20and%20nulliparity.>. Acesso em 17 dez 2020
  • ROYAL COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS & GYNAECOLOGISTS. Reduced Fetal Movements. 2014. Available at: <>. Accessed on 17 December 2020