The fetal kick count has become one of the most popular methods of monitoring fetal health at home in recent years. It is a simple task that any expectant mother can perform to make sure her baby’s movements are regular. All it takes is a clock, a piece of paper, and a writing utensil. To complete a fetal kick count, just follow these steps.
1. Obtain your recording materials for the kick count. You may use a chart or Excel spread if you wish, or just a simple sheet of paper. The important thing is that you will be keeping track of the starting time of the kick count, number of kicks, and ending time of the count every day.
2. Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable and quiet to begin the fetal kick count. For the best results, begin the count about the same time every day, when the baby is usually most active. If you know that certain activities make your baby more active, such as a short walk or drinking juice, you may wish to do this before you begin the count.
3. Mark each time you feel the baby move. Though it is called a fetal kick count, movements do not need to be actual kicks. Rolling, stretching, jabbing, and twisting are all fine movements to track; everything but the hiccups.
4. When you have marked ten movements, you are done. Note the time in your records. Often, this will take less than thirty minutes. It will take longer for some, but you should always feel at least ten movements within two hours during the baby’s most active time.
5. If you do not feel ten movements of any kind in this two hour period, you may try again for another two hours, but when starting over, you must not include any of the kicks recorded from the previous session. If you still do not feel ten kicks, contact your care provider to let them know of the decrease in fetal movement. They may wish to schedule an ultrasound or another monitoring system for your baby’s care.
Physicians and midwives will often have the mother begin the kick counts at twenty-eight weeks pregnant, but in high risk cases, he or she may ask you to begin counting at twenty-four to twenty-five weeks. He or she may also want you to feel ten movements within one hour instead of two, depending on the situation. It is important to talk to your care provider about the fetal kick count, and any changes in your baby’s movement. A noticeable decrease in movement can mean something is amiss, even if you can still feel the baby at times.
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