Once you are 28 weeks pregnant, or earlier if you have a high-risk pregnancy, your provider may want you to start counting your baby’s kicks. Kick counting is exactly what it sounds like: counting the number of kicks you feel from your baby.
To begin, pick the same time of day to count and make sure you are in a comfortable position and not distracted. Every time you feel movement from your baby, count it as a kick. Exceptions to this rule are baby hiccups as they are involuntary movements. Watch the clock or use a stop-watch and see how long it takes for you to count 10 kicks. If it takes longer than 2 hours, you should notify your provider. Many women will choose to kick count after they eat a meal as this is when your baby is likely to be most active. It is important to know what sort of things will trigger activity in your baby and what their normal activity levels are.
When should I start counting kicks?
At 28 weeks, or earlier if you are a high-risk pregnancy, your provider may start recommending counting your baby’s kicks.
Why is kick counting recommended?
Counting kicks is important because a change in movement in the third trimester is often the earliest sign of distress in a baby. Daily monitoring allows you to detect a change in your baby’s movements.
Every pregnancy and baby is different. Counting your baby’s kicks every day is important so you know what is normal for your baby. For example, if you normally count 10 movements within 30 minutes and then notice it’s taking two hours to record 10 movements that is a change in your baby’s movement pattern and you should mention this to your doctor.
What can cause changes in a baby's activity?
Every baby responds differently to stimuli, like food or drink. If you work out your baby may become more active during this time, while other babies prefer to enjoy the ride. If you feel like you haven’t felt your baby move for a while, it may be because you have been too distracted. Sit down in a comfortable position and drink orange juice or some ice water to stimulate your baby and do a quick kick counting session. Many mothers feel their babies become more active after mealtimes. During the third trimester, your baby will develop more consistent sleep/wake cycles that you may begin to detect.
When is it appropriate to call my provider?
You should check with your provider to see if they have more specific recommendations for your pregnancy, but if you have not felt 10 kicks in 2 hours, contact your provider. If you ever feel as though something is wrong or have questions or concerns you should not hesitate to contact your provider.