Thursday, May 13, 2010

What are Kick Counts?

It is appropriate to feel movement ( quickening ) at about half-way through your pregnancy at twenty weeks gestation. Some very thin women admit to feeling the baby earlier at around eighteen weeks and some women women with a little more meat on their bones have difficulty feeling the baby at twenty weeks. They just aren't sure. Early movement feels like a butterfly kiss or a hummingbird's wings. Just a flutter and not consistently and even not every day in the beginning.

If you are worried that you can't feel the baby move by about mid-second trimester; you can make your baby move. Have a big drink of cold water or some orange juice and be still, the baby should respond in about fifteen minutes. If you still are unsure, you are always welcome to have a visit with your provider for reassurance. Fetal heart tones are a great sign that everything is okay and it sure makes you feel great to hear that rapid heartbeat.

Fetal monitoring is another way to provide much needed reassurance for you and your provider. A fetal monitor is a non-invasive tool to track the baby's heart rate and to even monitor contractions. It is applied externally with velcro belts with a doppler and a transducer and tracings are used to assure appropriate heart activity for about twenty minutes. This is easily accomplished in the doctor's offices or at the hospital.

Doing fetal kick counts is a way that you can monitor your baby's movements all by yourself. It is very empowering to have a way for you to reassure yourself that the baby's health is being watched out for-- by you and you can do it everyday, if you'd like to. It's easy to choose a time ( the same time ) everyday when you take time out just to notice the twists and turns and kicks and jabs. You will become aware of what time is usually very active for your own baby. Perhaps when you are still or after having a snack and a cold drink. Take an hour and count how many times that you feel your baby moving around. Five kicks in one hour is all you need to reassure yourself that baby is growing healthily, as he should be. And what a great way to just relax and enjoy the miracle of bonding with that little person while he is still inside of you. You can visualize the future with your baby as you are aware of his movements.

If you are unable to count five kicks in one hour or ten in two hours, call your provider. Call your provider if the nature of the movement changes unexpectedly or movement stops. Of course, there are times when your baby is not active and you will notice this most especially when you are very active and rocking that little one to sleep. Often when you are still, the baby wakes up and wonders why the soothing rocking has stopped. A swift kick will be his way to remind you that he's okay and that he'd love for you to "rock" him back to slumber.

It is NEVER silly to call your doctor's office, if you have concerns about fetal movement or anything else for that matter. It is also important to know that too many contractions in one hour is a sign to call. More than six of those tightening, balled-up type contractions in an hour is a very good reason to call. The monitoring device can measure contractions as well as fetal movement. Be proactive and get the reassurance that you deserve.