Women are often given a string of advice about the do's and don'ts of pregnancy, but how do you sort the porkies from the truths? New University of Auckland research aims to set the record straight and give new mums some comforting reassurance about pregnancy.

1. Babies tend to move the most at night.

True. This study shows it is entirely normal, especially in late pregnancy, for babies to get more active in the evening and bedtime.

2. Decreased movements mean there is a high chance the baby has died.


While there is a strong link between decreased movements and stillbirth, most women who report a drop in activity will go on to have a healthy baby. The problem is there is limited evidence about what normal patterns of movement look like.

3. A cold drink or sweet food will help get your baby moving inside your belly.

False. Contrary to this advice, this study showed that was not case. Neither cold drinks or sweet food prod babies into action.

4. It's common for pregnant women to feel their babies' hiccups.

True. Almost all women in the study (274) reported feeling their babies' hiccups.

Healthy babies make happy mums. Photo / File
Healthy babies make happy mums. Photo / File

5. Babies are more likely to move after you've eaten.

False. This study found only a third of women reported increased movement after eating.

6. Unexpected loud noises get the baby moving.


Not always. The majority of women reported no movement after a loud noise, 25 per cent said they felt some movement and 32 per cent said they felt strong movement after.

7. Rubbing or prodding the belly triggers the baby to move.

True. Nearly half of the women in the study said they felt strong movement after rubbing or prodding the belly, 30 per cent said they felt some movement and 27 per cent did not.

8. Sitting in a cramped position can prompt your baby to move.

True. More than 65 per cent of women said they often felt their baby move after sitting in a cramped position. However, 34 per cent did not feel any movement.

More about the study:

The study involved 274 women who went on to give birth to healthy babies. They were surveyed at 28 weeks' gestation and then again at 37 weeks.

Researchers said the study showed it was normal for women to experience stronger movements later on in their pregnancy and in the evenings. Feeling hiccups was also common.

The take-home message for pregnant women: if your baby usually gets busy at night, rest (if you can) assured. If you're concerned that your baby is moving less often, less strongly or not moving in the evening as they normally would, don't wait until the next day for a check-up.

University of Auckland PhD student at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and a practising midwife Billie Bradford said she found it especially gratifying to see evidence emerge that pregnant women's own knowledge of their babies provides valuable insights into fetal wellbeing.