Top Tips about Fetal Kick Counts and Why Fetal Movement is So Important

June 30, 2018

Fetal kick counts. What is that? Girl, It is one of the most valuable tools to have in your pregnancy arsenal. Fetal movement is significant later in pregnancy as it is an indicator of well being. A well-oxygenated baby moves. So pay close attention to the movement of your baby bumble bee and use this handy tool to do so. (Hint: get a free form at the bottom of this post) ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION WHEN IT COMES TO FETAL MOVEMENT. In the past, mostly high-risk pregnancies were advised to do it, but it is smart practice for all pregnant women.

Why I am here and who I am:

Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama, a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6 and have labored thousands of mamas and delivered many, many babies. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes. and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society Mama Membership Community! You can find me over on IG teaching over 240k mamas daily.

We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them. Click here for our full disclosure. Thank you!

fetal ultrasound
Fetal Movement is usually felt around 18 -25 weeks:

Fetal Movement usually is generally felt around 18-25 weeks. This sometimes occurs sooner for someone who has been pregnant before, as opposed to later for a first-time momma!! At this point in Pregnancy fetal kick counts should begin.

Fetal Movement includes:
  • large movements
  • small movements
  • swishes
  • rolls
  • kicks
  • punches
  • flutters
Fetal kick counts can help prevent stillbirth:

According to the American Pregnancy Association performing a daily fetal kick count can reduce the chance of stillbirth. I am going to say this again and again. ALWAYS CALL YOUR PROVIDER OR COME TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOUR BABY ISN'T MOVING NORMALLY.

When should you do fetal kick counts?

The best time to count fetal movements would be during the time your baby is active most days. This is usually after a meal, sugary drinks, physical activity or in the evenings.

For instance, my eldest son barely moved early in the day. However, he was a disco dancer late at night. (Consequently, that never changed!) Lay down on your left side.

Although the fetus gets its best oxygenation when you are on your left side, you can choose your position. Just remain quiet and distraction free. Related Post: The most effective ways to rock Second Trimester Pregnancy for the millennial mom

How long should you count movements?

The amount of time it takes to feel fetal movement is different for everyone. But you should set aside a period of no more than 2 hours. Many providers say only 1 hour. Always follow your provider's recommendation and go with your gut.

How do I do I interpret fetal kick counts?

Lay on your left side (or however you are comfortable) and count each movement. You can use a tracking form such as this one to calculate or even an app like this one. (Check out this account of a woman who credits fetal movement counts for saving her daughters life.) You should feel ten movements within 2 hours (some providers say 1 hour) and once you've felt ten movements finished. If you don't feel the baby moving or the baby is moving less than usual, CALL YOUR PROVIDER. They may say drink something sugary and start again. But more often than now, they will want you to come to the hospital. DO SO!

What happens if I come to the hospital for decreased fetal movement?

Labor and Delivery staff take decreased fetal movements very seriously. We would never make you feel bad for being seen. That's why we are there for you. We always prefer a momma come in and nothing be wrong. The alternative is heartwrenching. Tests: Read this post explaining the tests ordered during the third trimester.

  • Ultrasound
  • Non-stress test (NST) -We will put you on the Fetal Heart Monitor to see the baby's heart rate and pattern.
  • A biophysical profile (BPP) -Combo of an ultrasound exam and a non-stress test (NST) to evaluate baby's heart rate, breathing, movement, muscle tone, and amount of amniotic fluid.
  • Contraction stress test (CST) – We put you on the fetal heart monitor, and the fetal heart rate and monitor the pattern in reaction to contractions.

If you are a first time mom, head over and read our suggestions for what you don't need. Also, read these posts on unmedicated birth, which is my passion! (Not that I don't love my epidural mamas too!)

Just a little Disclaimer: As always, I am just writing my thoughts and what I’ve learned along the way. Although I am in fact a labor and delivery RN, This is not medical advice. You should always seek and follow the advice of your care provider.

This post may contain some affiliate links (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Thank you! For our full disclosure read here)


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