Perhaps one of the biggest worries during pregnancy something may be wrong with the baby. This fear is often relieved during prenatal visits when the babyâ€™s heart beat is heard. Hearing the babyâ€™s heart beat and movements is reassuring for these mothers. With fetal kick counts you can monitor fetal movement at home, and help relieve some of those fears...
by Patricia Hughes
One of the biggest worries during pregnancy is the fear that something is wrong with the baby. Women who experience this fear breathe a sigh of relief during prenatal visits when the baby’s heart beat is heard. Hearing the baby’s heart beat and movements is reassuring for these mothers. There is a way for you to monitor fetal movement at home, with fetal kick counts.
Many doctors are recommending their patients begin doing fetal kick counts daily at some point in the second trimester. This can vary from doctor to doctor. Always make sure you consult with your health care professional. When you count the baby’s movements, you are more likely to notice decreased movements. This is helpful in the event something was wrong and medical intervention was needed.
You will need to choose a time of day to do the counting. Pick a time when your baby is typically active. This varies, with some babies being more active in the morning and others after dinner. A notebook or paper will help you keep count. Note the time you start and record a mark in the book for each kick or movement. Keep counting until you feel ten movements.
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. The baby’s movements are easier to detect when you are still. Also, babies tend to be more active when mom is still. This explains all that moving when you are trying to sleep! The baby is often gently rocked to sleep as you move and walk during the day.
Some doctors tell you to count for one hour and others will say two hours. For the sake of discussion, we’ll use one hour as the guideline. If you haven’t felt ten movements in one hour, you can call your doctor for advice. Often they will tell you to repeat the kick count test again. Start over and count for another hour. In most cases, the baby will respond and all will be well.
Sometimes the baby is just quiet or sleeping. If this is the case, there are things you can do to stimulate movement. Sometimes drinking a glass of orange juice or eating will get the baby moving. Try changing positions, walking around or getting in the tub. These are helpful for some women.
If you feel fewer than ten movements in the second hour, contact your doctor immediately. Don’t worry about what the doctor will think if everything is fine. It is their job to respond to your needs. There is good reason to seek immediate attention. According to the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, over half the women who have experienced still birth experienced reduced fetal movements for a week or more prior to the death of the baby. Fetal kick counts have been known to save babies.
Your doctor will have you come in to be evaluated. The first step will be to listen to the baby with the Doppler to check the fetal heart rate. Other tests may be done to determine the condition of the baby as well. An ultrasound will be done to check the baby’s condition, amniotic fluid, placenta and to look for anything out of the ordinary. Other tests that may be done include a biophysical profile and a non stress test.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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