The Fetus

melbourne mfm common fetus

Fetal movements

Fetal movements are normally first felt around 19-22 weeks in a first pregnancy and from 16 weeks in a second pregnancy. The type, pattern and frequency of movements differs from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy. It is important to get to know your baby’s pattern of movements and to always contact your specialist if you have any concerns regarding your baby’s movements.

Pregnancy belly size

Many women are told by well-meaning friends and family that they may be ‘carrying small, large, wide, low or high’. The size and shape of the uterus differs from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy.

In the first pregnancy the uterus may appear more compact as the abdominal muscles have not stretched before. This may also be the case in women who are tall or have increased core strength. The uterus may ‘show’ earlier in a subsequent pregnancy as the muscles have stretched before. The baby’s position can also alter the shape and size of the uterus. The size of the belly does not always equate to the size of the baby.  

Your specialist will scan you at every appointment to check on the size and wellbeing of your baby.

Lie & position of the baby

In the early parts of pregnancy it is common for the baby to be quite mobile and in a variety of positions. By 37 weeks gestation around 95% of babies will be in the head down position. There are simple exercises may be useful in changing the position of your baby. Your specialist will also discuss other strategies that may be employed to encourage your baby to turn.

The position of your baby’s head will change throughout the pregnancy and will usually only be finalised in the advanced stages of labour. Occiput posterior position, often referred to as the head down but facing up or back labour, is the most common malposition in labour. This position may prolong the time in labour due to the increased relative diameter of the head that needs to fit through the pelvis. Strategies and positioning in labour may be able to rectify the situation. Your specialist can discuss this with you further.