If you are worried because you haven’t felt the baby move for several hours, try taking three very deep breaths. The extra boost of oxygen often starts the baby moving. Failing this, try resting, relaxing as much as possible and lying on your left side. In this way the baby gets the best supply of blood to the placenta, and it will nearly always stimulate movement. Sometimes drinking a glass of very cold water can make the baby move. Get help if you are worried, although babies do often have periods of not moving for quite a long time, often at the 20-24 weeks stage.
If there is any question of the baby growing inadequately you should rest on your left for as long as possible each day. It may mean re-organising your life so that your reserves of energy are spread more evenly between you and the baby. It sometimes seems that when you are using a lot of energy the baby gets less oxygen. You may notice this if you don’t feel the baby move much until you are sitting down or lying in bed. It also becomes especially important to eat well, because a baby that is growing slowly may not be receiving the optimum amount of nutrients. It might help to take proprietary invalid foods like Complan if you really find it impossible to eat properly. Increasing evidence is demonstrating- the importance of a good diet in pregnancy.
Placental insufficiency can also be caused by maternal anxiety. This is particularly relevant to women who are anxious about whether they will be able to have their babies at home. It is difficult to relax under these conditions, but it is better for the baby if you try. It will help if you can avoid all those who are worried by home birth and speak to those who are in favour of the idea. Decide that you will only worry at a certain time of day and practise relaxation techniques regularly. Yoga classes could be especially helpful. You may be able to reassure yourself about your baby’s growth by measuring your abdomen, no more often than weekly. If it really seems that your baby is not growing well bearing in mind that babies normally vary in birth weight between 5 and 10 pounds — contact a nutritionist or acupuncturist for specialist help.