Fetal Kick Counts

Is my baby okay?

Couple sitting holding pregnant abdomen.
Anne Ackermann/Photodisc/Getty Images

One of the most frequently asked questions is that of the baby's health and well-being. While a window into the womb is a great idea, it just doesn't work that way. However, we have found a simple fetal monitoring technique that you can use at home to help alleviate some of your fears.

Fetal Kick Counts are becoming very popular among practitioners everywhere. They are simple, free, and anyone can do it with no special equipment.

It's about monitoring the movement of your baby. While all babies move in different amounts and different times, most healthy babies will move frequently in your uterus. It is also a great way to notice decreased fetal movements.

The Fetal Kick Count is done in a variety of ways. This is but one of the ways of counting and recording your baby's movement.

The first thing you want to do is pick your baby's most active time of the day to begin. After you've eaten may be a good time to try. Do not set yourself up for panic by waiting until the quiet times. Take a piece of paper and write down the time you start paying attention, put a check mark on the paper every time you feel movement (kick, twist, punch, turn). Do not count hiccups. When you have felt ten movements, write that time down as well. It should take between 30 minutes and two hours.

"At first it was really frightening to do," remembers Sharon.

"I would start counting at work and quickly get involved in something else. Two hours would fly by and I'd only have a few markings. I couldn't decide if the baby wasn't moving, or if I wasn't writing it down because I was preoccupied."

Doing this at the same time every day will help with the accuracy of the test.

If your baby is having a slow day, try walking for five minutes, eating, or drinking juice or something cold and then go lie down on your left side to see if that will perk your sleepy little one up. Keep in mind that we do not feel all the movements of the baby. We actually probably are too busy moving ourselves to notice the majority of movements which is why slowing down to pay attention is helpful. Also, a placenta that is anterior or a mother with some extra weight may provide yet another barrier to feeling all the movements.

"Comforting," is how Amanda describes it. "I knew I had something I could do to try to watch the baby. If she didn't move enough, I knew what to do and where to call."

Your baby should move ten times in two hours. If this does not happen, First Candle recommends waiting an hour and trying again. If you still aren't able to feel ten movements call your practitioner for advice on what to do next.

Remember, there are different methods of kick counting. Ask your practitioner which they prefer, or use the one provided from First Candle.

See: When to Call Your Doctor in Pregnancy

See: Warning Signs in Pregnancy

Source:

Kick Count One Page Flyer. First Candle Last accessed 07/11/15 at http://www.firstcandle.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/KC-one-page-flyer-high-res-02.2015.pdf.

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