Those of us who have been there and done that know the list of things you can’t do and must do while pregnant is alarmingly long. It’s no wonder new mothers — hell, even seasoned moms — often feel totally overwhelmed during pregnancy.
But of all the advice pregnant women should heed, from dutifully doing those kegels to keeping ginger on hand for morning sickness, one mom felt moved to share one of those frequently overlooked tidbits as she approached her due date with her second child.
Reddit user TheSunshineProtocol relayed her heartbreaking experiences during labor with her first child to highlight the importance of third trimester kick counting:
As I reach my due date with my 2nd son in a few weeks, I wanted to share my experience with my firstborn that ended in stillbirth in 2017.
Went into labour at home at 41w, midwife came to check and his HB was fine around 9am, laboured at home for the day and given this was our first baby we were clueless as to what to expect. Midwife checked in with us in the afternoon and asked about his movement – I had been focussed on getting through contractions I couldn’t remember when I felt him.
Fast forward to us going to hospital for a check. The lead OB rolled us to private room after not finding his HB on a Doppler – during that roll down the hallway I could not speak. My husband was positive all was well but I just knew. We got him on the ultrasound and I couldn’t look but she told us there was no heartbeat. We died in that moment.
I was induced and he was born the next morning, 8lbs and perfect. No cause for his death.
So – that was 2017, I’ve died and come back to life a few times. I’ve never suffered like this before so it was a very long time until I started to feel an inkling off myself coming back.
All this to say, I fucking survived, and now I want you all to keep an eye on your little ones movements in the third trimester. Find their cues for movement (warm tea, cold apple juice etc) and have a plan for a check if you don’t get the response you expect.
I’ve loved being a part of this sub! I want healthy babies (and in-laws who aren’t busy bodies) for all of us.
Due in 18 days with little brother. Excited and terrified ❤️
Edit: stillbirths occur at a very low percentage in most developed countries and most mamas will have a healthy happy baby. The purpose for my post was to reach a wide audience with my story. Statistics are with a group this size is that I might reach someone and have them consider going in for a check. Sadly, I am a statistic so it does happen. Just be aware and stay aware!
While she is correct that stillbirth is extremely rare in developed countries — only about 1 percent of pregnancies yearly in the United States — there are many reasons to keep an eye on baby’s movement in those last weeks before birth.
Sadly, I am one mother who knows this first-hand.
When I was pregnant with my second son, I endured all sorts of complications, from horrific morning sickness to insufferable cervix pain. Part of the reason for the latter was that my son was macrosomic — way too large for his gestational age. And while I did not have gestational diabetes or any other diagnosed conditions that might account for his unusual size, his enormity caused all sorts of problems, including early contractions and difficulty monitoring fetal movement.
Understandably, there was little room left for him in there, so when I was asked at a routine doctor’s appointment how frequently he was moving, I honestly couldn’t say. Not much, I told them, and this set off alarm bells.
I was sent to the hospital for examination, where they determined he was doing just fine. But only days afterward, I found myself in extreme pain due to my son’s sudden rapid and unusual struggling in the womb. And then nothing.
I contacted my doctor, who assured me all was well. But a little bit later, when I went into labor early and my son endured a traumatic C-section birth, after which he quit breathing, we discovered he had suffered a stroke in utero, most likely within the week or so leading up to birth.
We knew it had probably occurred during the period between my hospitalizations, but exactly when was impossible to determine. But I knew there were one of two possibilities: either that day when he was furiously moving and then suddenly quit, or during the birth itself.
It’s useless to harp on the what-ifs — What if I had insisted they admit me right away when his movement had caused me such extreme pain? Could they have caught the clot before it left him with disabilities? We will never know. — but what isn’t useless is imparting the hindsight of this experience on others.
Much like Reddit user TheSunshineProtocol, my intention in sharing my experience is not to cause expectant mothers unnecessary worry. There’s plenty of that already. Rather, it is to encourage them to be vigilant about monitoring baby’s movement and notifying doctors if anything seems amiss.
There’s no way to prevent everything that might happen in life. But there are precautions we can incorporate into our routines to potentially lessen the likelihood of something going awry.
And third trimester kick counting is one of those pregnancy must-dos that’s worth sticking to.