How can I keep my baby safer in the last weeks of pregnancy?
Baby Movements Matter
From about Week 35 take time out every day to check in and be familiar with your baby’s usual pattern of movements, when they happen and how strong they are. You should still feel your baby move every day from now on. If you feel a reduction or lessening from the usual pattern, or you think, ‘My baby usually moves around lots in the morning and I didn’t feel anything today,’ ring your midwife or doctor and ask to be seen immediately. Don’t put it off. And don’t be put off if an assistant or receptionist says they’re booked out. Insist on being seen and say why. Babies do not move less towards the end of a pregnancy and it can mean something is wrong. This advice is part of national guidelines to reduce the incidence of stillbirth. Stillbirths are rare and caused by different things. If your baby moves less it doesn’t mean you will have a stillbirth, but you need to be checked out.
Your Safer Sleep Position
From about Week 35, for the rest of your pregnancy, aim not to sleep on your back. When you settle to go to sleep, start on either side. If you wake up in the night and you’ve moved onto your back, roll yourself onto either side again to go back to sleep. This is because of the risk to your baby caused by the weight of your tum compressing your large blood vessel, the vena cava, which also delivers oxygen through the placenta. Use pillows to prop yourself if it helps. The thing is to be aware of it and do what you can to go back onto your side if you wake up on your back. This advice is part of guidelines to reduce the incidence of stillbirth.
For more on ensuring a safe pregnancy, see the book Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.