Keeping track of your baby’s kicks is a great way to monitor your baby’s well being during your last trimester. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that you start counting kicks at 28 weeks. If your doctor or healthcare provider determines that your pregnancy is high risk, he or she may advise that you begin counting kicks at 24 weeks.
Counting kicks will help you monitor what is normal fetal movement for your baby. Kick counting should be done one hour after you eat dinner, as this is when your baby is the most active. The easiest way to count is to lie on your side and place your hands directly on your belly (skin to skin). Time how long it takes for you to count ten movements.
According to countthekcicks.org, typically it should take less than two hours for ten kicks. A great way to keep track of your baby’s kicks is to keep a chart. We love this downloadable fetal kick count chart by Pregnancy and Baby.
If you notice that there is a sudden change in your baby’s movement or your baby has not moved ten times within two hours it is important that you notify your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that all babies sleep and go through intermittent periods of lack of movement. That being said, it is extremely rare that a baby would kick fewer than ten times during a two-hour period.
Studies have indicated that decreased fetal movement can be warning sign of serious complications such as stillbirths and unexpected death of a baby beyond 20 weeks. If you report that your baby is moving less your health care provider may order a biophysical profile and an ultrasound to measure your amniotic fluid level.
Just like breastfeeding, counting kicks is a great way for you and your baby to bond! It’s a special time where you can relax and focus on your little one’s movements and start to see their personality.
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