#7.  The Importance of Counting Kicks

Before starting your activity log be aware there's no single "standard" for the number of kicks to expect, but on average you should be able to detect at least 5 definite movements per hour. Babies sleep, and there may be times in the day when you feel little or no movement. That's why it's important to be aware of any changes in your baby's daily pattern. In time you'll get used to your baby's particular patterns.

Every day at the same time, preferably just after you've eaten, take time to be aware of your baby's movements. You needn't stop what you are doing, just be aware and count each movement as you de¬tect it. If you haven't felt at least 4 or 5 movements by the end of an hour, you should redo the count, this time lying down on your side and focusing on counting movements. We call them "kicks" but all movements— punches, rolls and swooshes—count too, if it's a definite movement. You may be told it's normal for fetal activity to slow approaching full term. While that may be true for some women, the change should never be sudden. Sudden changes can signify trouble, usually involving the cord. If, after redoing the kick count, you still don't detect 10 movements within 2 hours, call your doctor. From a practical standpoint it's always easier to have your baby checked during office hours, but don't let the time of day stop you. If you detect a change in your baby's activity, call, no matter what the time. We've all been taught to be considerate of others but this is a different situation. Doctors, like firemen, have chosen a 24-hour occupation. You've chosen to become a mother. As a mother your job is to protect your baby. Pick up the phone and call at once. Tomorrow morning could be too late!

"Kicking like a mule" is how your baby tells you it's "OK". It may be uncomfortable for you at times but it's got to be reassuring too. It means your baby is active and thriving.  In a survey conducted among stillbirth mothers we discovered 59% were never told by their OB's about the importance of monitoring kick counts. If you've not been told, or if it's not been properly explained, raise the question at your next checkup. It's your body and your baby so don't ever hesitate to voice your concerns. Counting kicks is a simple way to assess a baby's well being and costs nothing!You can track your baby's activity over time using a written log of its kicks. If you detect a decrease in movement, or any unusual increase in your baby's level of activity, it may mean your baby is in distress. Should either occur, call your doctor at once. If you can't reach your doctor, head to the hospital to have your baby checked. A "false alarm", if it is one, is better than having a stillborn baby

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Informational Bulletin 201 Summer/Fall 2007

  1. Start logging you baby’s “kicks” once you feel them with regularity, but not later than the first week of the 3rd trimester (28 weeks).

  2. Starting at the same time every day, count the number of “kicks” in 1 hour.

  3. Write the number of kicks you notice in the column labeled “1 HR”.

  4. If you detect fewer than 5 distinct movements, repeat the test, this time lying on your side and paying close attention to your baby. If you have not eaten recently eat something or drink a glass of orange juice before retesting.

  5. In the column labeled “10 KC” write in the elapsed time it took you to detect 10 definite movements/kicks. (Total minutes.)

  6. If the elapsed time is greater than 120 minutes, call your doctor and report the result. DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE. SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR. IF YOUR DOCTOR IS UNAVAILABLE, GO TO THE HOSPITAL ASAP.



Last Updated 09/10/2007     Design donated by Web-Writer