Feeling Baby kick for the first time is one of the most special parts about pregnancy, but it’s not just a fun parlor trick – counting their movements is a great way to monitor their health while they are still a bubble in your womb.
Although Baby will have been moving since the early weeks of pregnancy, they are too little for any movement to catch your attention until about week 20, although this may come a bit sooner for second- or third-time moms, and a bit later (up to week 23 or so) for first-time moms, or those with an anterior placenta. This first felt movement is known as the “quickening”.
Counting Baby‘s kicks can double as a fun game, as well as a way to keep an eye out to make sure everything is okay.
Those with high-risk pregnancies will probably be advised by their healthcare provider to keep track of kicks to watch over their health — if you fall into this category, your healthcare provider will surely brief you on how to go about doing so.
Even those without high-risk pregnancies may be advised, or wish to keep track of Baby‘s kicks to monitor development, usually after 32 weeks or so. Find a comfortable position (lying on the left side works well), and wait until you feel 10 kicks, flutters, or other baby movements (this should take less than 2 hours). If it takes longer than 2 hours to record the 10 movements and you are 32 weeks or more, it’s recommended that you call your provider right away.
When to call your healthcare provider
Pregnant folks should call their healthcare provider about their baby’s inactivity if they notice any of the following:
- Drastic change in frequency of movements over the course of a day
- Failure to detect 10 kicks in 2 hours after 32 weeks of pregnancy.
The bottom line
Counting Baby‘s kicks is a great way to monitor their health. You should be able to feel 10 kicks within two hours. Making a point to count kicks once each day (until you get to 10 kicks) is recommended after you reach 32 weeks gestational age.
- “Antepartum Assessment & Laboratory Evaluation: Ongoing Care.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes Nursing Programs, n.d. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Fetal development: The third trimester.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 7/11/2014. Web.