One of the more exciting milestones in pregnancy is feeling your baby move. First fetal movements can usually be felt between 16-25 weeks of pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel movement until closer to 25 weeks. Some individuals—those who have had a baby before, for example—may feel movement as early as 13 weeks. If your placenta is anterior (attached to the front of the uterus, between baby and your abdomen) it may “cushion” movements making them harder to feel. Individuals with anterior placentas may feel fetal movements lower in the abdomen, or on their sides but should still feel movement.

What is Kick Counting

Kick counting, or fetal kick counts, is one way for you and your provider to monitor your baby’s well being. Decreased fetal movement is a warning sign that your baby may be at risk. If you notice your baby isn’t meeting the parameters of fetal kick counts, notify your provider and they can determine if further assessment is warranted. 

Performing fetal kick counts is very easy. You simply select a 2-hour time frame and count the number of purposeful movements your baby makes. These movements can be a literal kick, a roll, a squirm, wiggle etc. Ten or more distinct movements in a two-hour period of time is considered reassuring! Many babies have no problem passing this test. 

When to Start

ACOG (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends you begin fetal kick counts in your 28th week of pregnancy. If you are considered high-risk, or are pregnant with multiples then the recommendation is to start at 26 weeks. 

Most babies are active after you eat a meal, or drink something cold, or in the late evening. You can do your kick counting during these active periods. The purpose of this performing fetal kick counts is to note any significant deviations from your baby’s norm. 

When to Contact Your Provider

Your provider should give you guidelines on when to contact them. Generally, if you haven’t noted 10 movements by the end of the second hour, you can wait a few hours and try again. Sometimes changing positions, drinking some juice or eating a snack can help rouse baby and make them more active. It may also be your baby’s sleepy time! Try to lightly jiggle your belly or poke them a bit to wake them up. If you’ve tried all these recommendations and still cannot count 10 movements in 2-hrs, notify your provider ASAP. You should also notify your provider if you notice a significant change in your baby’s normal activity. Remember: you know your baby, and his or her activity, best. If you feel like something is off, or wrong, tell your provider. 

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