Rachel Riley: My baby stopped moving in the womb following anti-semitic trolling

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Rachel Riley attends the press night after party for "Evita", 2019. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Rachel Riley has told how online abuse from trolls upset her so much her unborn baby stopped kicking in the womb.

The Countdown presenter - who is expecting her first child with Strictly Come Dancing star husband Pasha Kovalev - became a target for anti-Semitic online abuse after she spoke out against the Labour party.

Riley, 33, revealed: “I found out I was pregnant in April and that was around the time of the Boycott Rachel Riley campaign.

“They had a petition to have me silenced but I was like, ‘What are you on about?’.

“Mentally, I am strong. Mentally, I can cope. I am up for this fight. It is imperative that we win.

Read more: Rachel Riley and Pacha Kovalev share honeymoon pictures

“But when I got pregnant, you have like some chocolate and within minutes the baby is wriggling and the baby is kicking.

“And the day I was going for my scan my baby was kicking and I was excited. It was excited.”

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev rehearse their waltz at Ace Dance & Music, Birmingham ahead of their first dance on Strictly Come dancing. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

But the Jewish presenter realised the stress was taking its toll physically after she publicly endorsed a BBC Panorama documentary about anti-semitism withing the Labour party.

She told former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman’s podcast Trolled: “The week of the Panorama documentary it got really f***ing ugly. It was disgusting.

“They were exposed as anti-Semites. The Labour leadership were exposed as liars. Their followers took it personally and attacked anyone going anywhere near.

“I was very stressed and upset and my baby stopped wriggling for a couple of days. At that point you think, ‘Nah’.

“I realised that however mentally strong I am, there’s adrenalin, there’s hormones that go through your body and now I’m sharing them, I absolutely don’t need to give that to my baby.”

File photo dated 06/09/16 of Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev. The pregnant Countdown star said her unborn baby stopped kicking in the womb for two days due to stress caused by online trolls.

Riley has joined celebrities including Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson in backing Don’t Feed The Trolls, a campaign to block social media trolls instead of engaging with them.

A recent report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate revealed the trolls rely on publicity to fuel and spread their insults.

Read more: Rachel Riley marries Pasha Kovalev in Las Vegas

Riley, a Machester United fan, said: “As a woman in TV and a football fan I have experienced trolls before. It’s easy to ignore those trolls as they are after a reaction. It is one man sitting in a room in his pants trying to get a reaction and making no sense at all.”

She added: “They are not after proper debate.

“They are not after their minds changing. They are not doing it for virtuous reasons so I block them.

“You don’t need to read it. Being pregnant has highlighted that for me. I don’t need this.”

Riley and her husband Kovalev, 39, were married in June after announcing they were expecting their first child. They met when they were paired on the BBC show Strictly in 2013.

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