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3 Reasons You Should Be Counting Your Baby's Kicks

count baby kicks
By EverydayFamily


One of the exciting things about pregnancy and going through the whole process is that first time you feel your baby move inside. It starts off with little flutters that make you unsure if that's what you really felt and gradually increases to what can be painful kicks into your ribs that can't be ignored. It's one of my favorite parts of pregnancy and something I am going to miss when we're finished building our family.  

When we talk about our growing baby's kicks we often focus on finding out when we should finally feel them, how much they hurt when the baby gets bigger, and the moment our family and friends can feel the movements from the outside. However, your baby's kicks have a more important purpose than sharing those movements with friends and family, and can be a vital part of determining your child's health. 

Counting your baby's kicks is something that's often recommended by midwives and obstetricians - especially so if you've got a higher risk pregnancy or specific condition. For me, since I have been diagnosed with having an issue with the umbilical cord that puts my son at risk of developing intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), it's been recommended to me that I count my baby's fetal movements each day. 

What does that entail? According to the American Pregnancy Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) "recommends that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours."  What you're keeping an eye out for is a deviation from a pattern - if it starts taking longer and longer for you to feel the 10 movements, that warrants a call to your doctor. 

Why are fetal counts important?

1) It helps you bond with your baby: You may think that bonding doesn't start until your baby is comfortably in your arms, but you're totally able to bond while you're still pregnant and those kicks are one way. It's also a good way for your partner or older children to bond with your baby, too - counting those kicks makes it feel all the more real.

2) It helps you get to know your child: Babies have sleeping and waking patterns just like babies do and by counting kicks and movement, you get to know that pattern that's unique to your child. Plus, it's fun to see just how much their in-utero patterns and personality mimics that of when they're born into the world.

3) It can help peg medical issues: By counting kicks and movements you're taking an active role in your child's health and tracking those patterns can help pinpoint potential issues before it becomes too late. According to Count the Kicks, a UK-based registered charity that promotes awareness of the importance of counting your baby's kicks, changes in fetal movements in the later stages of pregnancy can be one of the first signs of potential problems - from placental issues to stillbirth. 

With new technology, keeping track of those kicks has become a lot easier. You can go analog and use a pen and paper in a chart form to keep track of how long it's taken you to feel 10 movements, or if you have a smart phone, there are a lot of apps that can make the important process a whole lot simpler. Some apps include:  

If you prefer the analog version and using pen and paper for your fetal kick counting at this link you can find a sample chart from Utah Department of Health. 

Have you spent time counting your baby's kicks? Did your baby's in-utero behavior patterns stay the same once he was born?


Image: Getty Images


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