“How’s your baby kicking?” This is one question pregnant women get a lot. The question then becomes, do you know how your baby is kicking? Do you know how to keep track of it? Before you go ahead to tell them “fine,” you should be sure. Counting your baby kicks is not something you do just for the sake of it; there are specific reasons why you should do it.
Why you should count your baby kicks?
Doing the baby kick count helps you to monitor your baby’s well-being. This is by letting you know when there are significant changes in the pattern. Even though a change in pattern can be normal sometimes, it could also be a danger sign. Early detection of possible danger can help you avert potential problems which can lead to stillbirth. The counts can also help you learn your baby’s sleeping and waking cycles. Also, it can help you bond with your baby before he or she is born.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommend that pregnant women chart their babies’ kicks, which usually starts between 18 to 25 weeks into pregnancy.
How to do a baby kick count?
Having understood the importance of counting baby kicks, how exactly do you go about it?
• Pick a time of the day when your baby is most active. It could be after a meal or a drink.
• Once you confirm that he/she is awake, sit with your feet up, or you can lie on your side. Then you start counting your baby’s movements. These movements can include twists, turns, switches, rolls, and jabs.
Note: Hiccups do not count as a movement because they are involuntary. Count each of your baby’s movements as one kick, and record it. Continue the process until you get to 10 movements.
• Log the number of minutes or hours it takes to count ten movements. Find an example below.
Monday: 9:30pm XXXXXXXXXX 10:30pm (1 hour)
Tuesday: 10:00pm XXXXXXXXXX 10:45pm (45 minutes)
What is the ideal time?
The duration may differ for different individuals. But the maximum time it should take to count up to 10 kicks is 2 hours. If it takes longer than this, you can try to eat or take a drink that contains sugar. If nothing changes, then you should contact your doctor. Also, if you don’t feel the baby move for 12 to 24 hours after week 26, you should notify your doctor or midwife. In cases like this, a non-stress test can be carried out. This is usually to ensure that the baby is in good condition.
It is important to do this because lack of movements could be a sign of trouble. The baby may not be getting enough oxygen or may have shifted to an awkward position. In some extreme cases, the baby may have died. There could be cases where the baby is still, not because there is a concern. It could just be that heor she is sleeping or less energetic. Also, decreased movement can occur at the latter stages of the third trimester.
This is also not a red flag situation; it could simply be an indication that labor is close. As the baby engages down into the pelvis, there’s less room to move around. The kicks may not be pleasant, and would even hurt sometimes, but your baby’s safety could depend on it. It is important that you always remember this and do the best you can to keep a good record of your baby kicks. Be the architect of your safe delivery.