While pregnant, one of the best ways to monitor the health of your baby is to be aware of its movements. Healthy babies are active babies. If there is a change in the level of activity of your baby, it could indicate a problem is developing.
We encourage you to begin performing daily kick counts at 28 weeks of pregnancy. They are simple to do. Pick a time of the day your baby is usually active, such as after a meal. Ideally, lie down on your left side and place a hand on your abdomen. Count each time the baby moves, whether it is a kick, roll, punch, turn or stretch. Do not count hiccups or movements the baby makes if you push against him or her.
Within two hours, your baby should move at least eight times. If your baby does not move eight times in two hours, you should call your physician immediately, regardless of the time of day. You also should notify your physician if at any time you notice a significant change in your baby’s activity or if you have not felt the baby move all day (more than 12 hours).
If your baby’s movements have decreased, further evaluation is necessary. Usually, this involves the performance of a non-stress test, or a measurement of your baby’s heartbeat with a monitor placed on your abdomen. More often than not, this test reveals no problems.
Again, we recommend that you begin kick counts at 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you ever have any concerns about your baby’s level of activity, please don’t hesitate to bring this to the attention of your physician.