Spreading the message about fetal movements in pregnancy
Spreading the message about fetal movements in pregnancy

Shouting out the message about Fetal Movements together.

Why I wanted to become involved with the campaign.

 

I’m so happy to announce that I will be working with Kicks Count to help  promote a message about baby movement that is vital to all pregnant women and their families.

Who are Kicks Count?

Kicks Count is a UK registered charity that aims to empower mums to be with knowledge and confidence throughout their pregnancy.

Kicks Count
Kicks Count

What is their mission?

Their mission is to ensure that all pregnant women are aware of how important their baby’s movements are, that they are aware of the the most up-to-date recommendations for monitoring movement and that they have the confidence to speak to a medical professional if they have any concerns. To achieve this the charity produces leaflets, posters and booklets which are used in hospitals, GP surgeries and appear in Bounty packs. They can be ordered and distributed by medical professionals.

Kicks Count exhibits at major baby shows and professional health events across the UK to build awareness and they also use the media and social media to spread their message and reach as many people as possible.

Read more about their mission and the story behind why they started.

Why did I want to work with Kicks Count?

As a midwife and a blogger I feel I am in a privileged position in helping to get this important message across. I came across Kicks count many years ago when they were called Count The Kicks. Their message is a universally important one.

Please be aware that the following contains sensitive information and may be upsetting. I felt I needed to share this to express my feelings about this subject and why I wanted to be involved with Kicks Count.

I have been in midwifery now for 13 years, 3 as a student and 10 as a registered midwife. Over that time I have rotated through maternity, gaining varying experience with pregnancy and childbirth. I’ve also worked within The Fetal Medicine Unit and spent some time in the Maternal and Fetal Research department. The experience I wish to share with you here, is one whilst working on the maternity day unit. This is where you are referred if the community midwife finds you have elevated blood pressure, you phone if you are concerned about reduced fetal movements, you have itching in pregnancy or you need an iron infusion for a low heamoglobin level amongst other problems.

Fetal Movements
Stock image

On the day unit many women come through the doors either via self referral or referral by the Community Midwife with reduced fetal movements. The vast majority of these women will go home reassured that on that day their baby is well. The fetal heart monitoring has shown all is ok. Still we will advise them to call again if there are any further concerns, even if it’s the same or next day. That is after all what we are there for.

Then there are the cases that no midwife wishes to see and no pregnant women wants to be. Policy is that any woman self referring with reduced movements will jump the queue for an initial review and fetal heart auscultation. If all ok then they will rejoin the queue and await a full review and CTG (continuous Cardiotocograpgh). So many times had I made this assessment to find all was reassuring. This time was different. The mother was 36 weeks pregnant and had not felt movements for a couple of days. She’d had a couple of busy days and thought that was the reason for not noticing movements, as many women do.

I invited her into the assessment room. She understandably looked petrified. We made introductions and I took a brief history whilst she was getting ready on the couch. I knew all too well she was anxiously awaiting to hear her baby’s heartbeat, it was a sound I was also eager to find. Before attempting to find a heartbeat, a midwife will always palpate the mother’s abdomen to ascertain the baby’s position. This allows us to asses growth and to find the optimum place to pick up the baby’s heartbeat.

I know this may sound strange but as soon as I laid my hands on her tummy I knew. I can’t tell you how much I longed to be wrong. I can only explain that I felt cold. I tried to remain professional. However I’m human and it’s hard to hold back the look of despair. I told her that sometimes these little ones can get into awkward positions that make it difficult to find the heartbeat, that is sometimes true. She was clutching her mother’s hand. I could see that she was trying her best to hold back the tears. I think she knew too. I felt inadequate, why couldn’t I get this baby’s heartbeat, I will find it I protested in my mind. But I couldn’t. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. No matter how hard I wished for that precious sound to become audible, it wouldn’t.

I took the mother’s hand and explained that I was sorry but I was struggling to find her baby’s heartbeat. I explained that a sonographer in scan would need to take a closer look to see how her baby was. She looked me in the eye and asked me if her baby was dead. I had to be honest. I explained that I couldn’t confirm either way but I would ensure scan would see her as soon as possible.

The departments where I work have a fantastic relationship and when a call like this is made, staff will move mountains to make a scan machine available. I escorted the mother and her family to the scan department (I have to add here that this was a number of years ago and the service has made improvements. Women can be scanned within the day unit, negating the need to move someone in this situation).

I waited. Then I heard the deafening screams. I can still hear them. It was confirmed. Sadly, the baby had passed away. I struggled and failed to hold back tears. I was a mother myself at this point in my career. I could sense the devastation, my stomach turned and a lump grew in my throat. If this is how I felt, I don’t think there are any words to describe how that family felt. No family should ever have to go through this.

Following the scan we had to discuss ‘what happens next’. This conversation in my mind is a cruel blow to the awful news just discovered. But unfortunately necessary. Of course we give families time to let the news settle upon their ears. But I don’t think any amount of time will be sufficient for them to be ready. The conversation that follows must include discussions about birth, tests and bereavement. No sooner have these families had their world torn apart do we have to then discuss procedures. I won’t go into details about why these discussions are needed so soon after but I assure you that if they could be left they would.

I’ll never forget that family. Unfortunately their story is like so many others. The message about normal fetal movements needs to be clearer and stronger. I think we have made vast improvements over the years since this story but much is still to be done. For some, sadly there are no warning signs. But for others, a change in movements could be a warning sign and the few hours or days that have passed between a concern and a review could mean the difference between life and death.

Mothers would say to me, ‘I know you guys are always heaving, ‘I didn’t want to bother you’, ‘I’ve been busy and I thought it was a case of being too busy to notice movements’, ‘I was only in 2 days ago and everything was fine’, or ‘everyone says it’s normal for movements to slow down at the end, there’s less room’. No. No. No.   

Final message

These myths are just plain wrong.  Babies’ movements do NOT slow down at the end of pregnancy and it is NOT better to wait if you are at all worried about your baby not moving.  Don’t rely on well-meaning advice from friends and family – a healthcare professional will always understand and will always see you if you are at all concerned.   

Kicks Count works to bust the myths and spread the important message about monitoring baby movement. They work closely with The Department of Health, the Royal College of Midwives and many other healthcare professionals and medics who research stillbirth in an attempt to ascertain patterns and causes. 

So you see why I consider the work that Kicks Count do so incredibly important. To simply put it – They save lives. 

Fetal Movements

You can find out more about them at www.kickscount.org.uk or find their Facebook page and join their community of supporters.

Read advice on normal fetal movements here.

Hot Pink Wellingtons
Mummuddlingthrough

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
3 Little Buttons

40 COMMENTS

    • Thank you Kelly, it is a fab charity. I went in twice with each of mine and luckily all was ok each time. But I distinctly remember that anxious moment when the midwife is looking for the heartbeat and the utter relief when I could hear it x

  1. This is such an important message to help get across to people! I also work within the NHS and have worked in obstetrics in the past and have also been involved first hand in a similar story. Like you this story still stays with me and was devastating. I am currently 39 weeks pregnant myself with my second baby so it’s particularly close to home at the moment.

    • Thank you MummyGummie, awww 39 weeks. I hope everything is going well for you and you are managing to get a bit of time for yourself before baby arrives. When you have been involved with families in these situations before I think it makes you feel you are on high alert most of the time x

  2. I follow Kicks Count and this is such an important message. I can’t begin to imagine or understand what a family and a woman goes through when this happens, and it must be incredibly difficult as a midwife too. With my third he regularly disappeared off my radar and I always went in, even when I was shattered and would have preferred to tuck myself up in bed. Following Kicks Count made a difference to me and how quickly I picked up the phone. In my first pregnancy, when I didn’t follow the charity, I’m not sure that I would have had the confidence call as soon as quickly if I was worried. I suspect that this was difficult to write, my thoughts are with you and the anonymous woman in your post. #blogstravaganza

    • Glad to hear that the message Kick Count spreads reached you and you got through your pregnancies. That is absolutely right, no matter what time of day or night, pj’s or dressed, if you are worried you call and come in for a review. It was quite difficult to write this post, thank you x

  3. I lost my second daughter at 23 weeks, and in the subsequent pregnancy I was so anxious. This story took me back to when I was full term and realised I hadn’t felt any kicks that morning. I called my Mum who told me to sit quietly and have an ice cold drink and a cup of tea and if I didn’t feel anything to call the hospital. I’ll never forget the relief of feeling the kick as I sat sobbing. Such an important message.
    Xx

    • I’ve never experienced a baby loss myself but I know for myself being around these situations I was very anxious all the way through my pregnancies, I can’t imagine how you felt after actually suffering the loss of a baby. So glad to hear the outcome of the next pregnancy was happy one. I sobbed too once I heard my baby’s heartbeat after being worried about movements. It’s utter relief x

  4. This is such an important message, well done you for raising awareness! I had reduced fetal movement with my first, after having a scan I was induced as she had stopped growing at the rate she should have been. I’m so glad I went to get checked, the more people that are aware of the risks the better. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

    • Absolutely, it is better to be safe. We’d rather women come in numerous times and send them home reassured than they stay at home worrying and possibly suffering a loss. Glad to hear you had the correct advice and went in for a review. You definitely made the right call x

  5. A really important message and one close to my heart. My SIL lost my niece at 7 months pregnant and if there had been more awareness who knows if the outcome would have been different. I had to be checked with my youngest daughter at 8 months pregnant and it was a scary time, thankfully it was all ok and the staff were fantastic at dealing with it and reassuring me as quickly as possible. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I’m pregnant at the moment and using the Kicks Count app to track the movements which has enabled me to spot patterns that I think I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. I have friends whose baby died at full term, so am very aware of how important it can be, although tracking movement sadly wouldn’t have helped in their situation. I’m surprised though, by how little information I’ve had about movement from the NHS – just a vague ‘are you feeling movement?’ and nothing about the importance of tracking it – that’s all come from Kicks Count. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. Thank you for writing about this and raising awareness about both the importance of the matter and of course, the charity. It’s hard to even imagine the loss and suffering would-be parents go through when this happens, and if it can be prevented, then it must. Well done you for working with such an important and emotional cause.
    #coolmumclub

  8. YES! This is brilliant! I love Count the Kicks and everything they do. They are bull dozing their way through the myths of fetal movement and pregnancy and it is amazing! The more this message is shouted out the better. Great work!
    #SharingtheBlogLove

  9. Kicks count are a brilliant charity and definitely one I support. I had one of their wristbands whilst I was pregnant and it really helped #sharingthebloglove

  10. This is a very powerful post, thank you for raising awareness. I had 2 awful pregnancies with obstetric cholestasis, towards the end of my second I went in for monitoring so many times I had to have 2 extra scans, he was just not a good mover. But I went in each and every time I was worried, even on Christmas morning, because the alternative if I ignored my concern just didn’t bare thinking about. My heart breaks for that woman xx #sharingthebloglove

  11. Such an important message. I remember with our first we went in because I hadn’t felt movement. Everything was fine. I was relieved and the staff were so nice about it. I learned that an ice-cold drink was a good trick to check baby was moving. Thanks for raising this #kcacols

  12. This is such an important issue and it’s fantastic to make people aware of this. This charity does such fantastic work,p. Thank you for sharing your really stories on this issue #dreamteam

  13. […] As a midwife, I saw this situation all too often, women would come in eventually after delaying telling us they didn’t want to make a fuss, or be a bother! They would say, “I know you are busy and I didn’t want to add to the queue of people needing seeing”. I would always respond with “You are absolutely NOT a bother, I would rather see you many many times and have you reassured than you come in once and then have to tell you bad news”. So when I caught sight of Tommy’s #AlwaysAsk campaign I knew I had to share it. The campaign resonates with a post I shared about getting involved with Kicks Count too and not feeling a bother to health professionals. (Read it here) […]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here