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Birthing Unit

What is counting for kicks?
  Counting for kicks is counting the number of times the baby moves in a given period.  Babies do not move constantly.  They sleep for about 20 minutes and then wake up and move around.  You can feel movement as the baby pushes against the wall of the uterus.  You can also feel movement with your hands, or see a ripple or bump on your abdomen.  Movements can be described as:  rolling, stretching, or pushing.  Each one of these is counted as a movement.

Why should I count for movements?  In the last months of pregnancy, it is particularly important to get in the habit of becoming more in-tune to your baby's movements.  How much or how little your baby moves may be a good indication of his/her well being.

Don't babies stop or slow down before labor starts?  You may have heard that babies slow down, or stop moving in the last few weeks of pregnancy or before labor begins.  This is NOT TRUE!  In fact, babies who stop moving may be in serious trouble.  Babies are suppose to move.  They feel a need for change in positions or exercise just as we all do.  As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows larger, he/she will find that it is harder to make the big movements that were possible in earlier months.  But, the baby's movements should be just as many in number.  The quality of movements will be different.  Each baby and pregnancy is different.  You know your baby best, and you know when and how much he/she normally moves.

How do I count for kicks?  Choose a time once a day to count for kicks.  Try to plan this at the same time each day, preferably after dinner, or when the baby is usually active.  Follow these simple directions for this very improtant test of your baby's health:
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Eat your dinner and wait approximately 20 minutes
- After 20 minutes, place your hands on your belly and gently shake the baby for about 5-10 seconds (this helps the baby to wake up)
- Lie down on your side (this will increase the blood flow to the baby).  The baby tends to move more in this position.  (Avoid lying flat on your back)
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Record the results on the chart (Download at the end of instructions)
- Look at the clock and write down the time in the start time column
-Stop counting when your baby moves ten times.  Write down the time you finish in the stop time column
-Write down the length of time it took to reach ten movements in the total time column.
-Bring your chart with you to each appointment so that your provider can review the results.

If you notice decreased fetal movement or longer time periods to reach 10 movements, repeat the test one more time. (Your baby may be in a sleep period)  If the results are the same in two hours or no movement is felt, call your clinic or the Birthing Unit at 910-907-7563.  Follow their instructions to come in at once for an evaluation.

Click here to download your Counting for Kicks chart.