Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kick counting

While pregnant with my second little one, I was introduced to the idea of kick counting... and by introduced I mean I stumbled upon it while surfing the internet for baby info. I didn't quite understand what it meant or was used for untill this last pregnancy with number 3. Now, I'm no doctor by any means, but I found this information very interesting and, when discussed with my Midwife, it became very useful too.

What is "kick counting"?

Kick counting is keeping track of how often your baby moves over a certain period of time. This can include kicks, turns, twists, swishes, rolls, or jabs -- but not hiccups. An active baby means a healthy baby, and tracking your baby's movements is a simple but very effective way of knowing if your baby is doing well.

Why count kicks?

Healthy babies develop patterns of movement and activity while in the womb, and by learning these patterns, you become more aware of when your baby may deviate from the usual routine. Knowing these patterns keeps you more in tune with your little one and can alert you if the baby is straying significantly from his or her norm.

So how do I do it?

You will want to start charting around 28 weeks if you are not a high risk pregnancy. Start by observing when your baby seems to be the most active. Usually it will be after a meal or after exercise. I find that for some reason my baby is most active right before I go to sleep (go figure!) Find a time that you will be able to observe several of your baby's movements uniterupted. Get into a comfortable position, either laying on your left side or sitting with good back support. Record the time of the first movement and the time of the tenth movement. A healthy baby when most active will move 10 times in under 2 hours. Most babies will do this in under 30 minutes, but the process can last up to 3-4 hours.

If, after 2 hours have passed and your baby has not moved 10 times, wait a couple of hours and try again. A normal baby has normal sleep periods and you may have just been trying to chart during one of those periods. You can also try to wake baby up by drinking a glass of juice or cold water or by going for a 5 minute walk.

When should I contact my obstetrical provider?

1) If you have waited and tried again later and you still don't get 10 movements in 2 hours.

2) If you notice a significant decrease in movement over a few days. For example, over the course of 3 days, your baby goes from 10 movements in 30 minutes to 10 movements in 1.5 hours.

3) If you have any doubts or concerns, call your doctor. Your provider is there for your and your baby's health.

Kick Counting Charts

Here are a couple links to different kick counting charts:

Baby Kick Alliance
Baby 2 See
Mommy Guide

Reference Links:

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