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Paula Kashtan

How To Do Kick Counts

Why am I supposed to take fetal kick counts? And how should I do it exactly?

Become a proactive parent before baby is even born! Counting and tracking baby's movement with fetal kick counts is one way to identify treatable problems before baby's heart rate is affected and stillbirth becomes a possibility. In other words, something you can do all on your own to keep baby safe.

There are many different ways to count kicks, so first see if your doctor has any specific suggestions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests timing how long it takes to feel ten movements. Set aside time every day — try for when baby tends to be most active — and count the number of kicks, swishes, rolls, and jabs that you feel. If things seem slow, try lying on your left side — this increases blood flow, which might get baby moving. Keep a tally mark of how many movements you feel — ideally, you'll get to ten within an hour. If you aren't at ten after two hours, wait a little while and try again. Give your doctor a call if you're still not up to ten kicks by this point.

Repeat your kick counts at roughly the same time each day, noting any significant or long-term deviations from the norm. If you notice any major changes, talk to your doctor. In addition to keeping baby safe, setting aside time each day to pay attention to his movements is a great way to start the bonding process.

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