Kick Counts

In the third trimester the baby should have a period of activity at least once per day in which you can feel at least 10 individual movements in 2 hours or less. If this is the case, it is a good sign of fetal well-being, that the baby is doing all right.

It is normal for babies to have sleep wake cycles. It is also normal for babies to have more active days and less active days. It is also normal for a mom to be busy and distracted so she does not feel the baby moving inside of her. One test to be sure the baby is moving enough is called kick counts. There are many protocols for measuring kick counts. The one I advise my patients to use is the rule of 10 movements on 2 hours.

To test for kick counts first you need to do some preparation. Drink some fluids to be sure you are not dehydrated. Eat some food, if you are not diabetic something sweet works the best. Then lay down somewhere quiet with no distractions. Turn off the TV, put away the book, log off of MedTwice. This is alone time with the baby. Now, concentrate on the baby’s movements. You should be able to feel 10 individual movements in less then 2 hours. Most of the time it won’t take anywhere close to 2 hours to get the 10 movements. That is a good thing. If you do not feel 10 movements in 2 hours you should call your doctor or go to the hospital to be monitored.

Movement tends to peak between 28-32 weeks and then gradually slow down. The quality of the movement also changes as your due date approaches. The movements tend to be less jabby and more rolling or stretchy feeling. This is normal. But at no time, even close to your due date should you have a whole day pass without at least one reasonable period of activity in which you can feel those 10 movements in 2 hours.

There is no such thing as too much movement. Lots of movement may be annoying for the mom but it means the baby is doing well. Think of your own experience. When people are sick, they tend to lay around and not do much. When we feel well we are active and tend to do more. If it feels like your baby is having a dance party inside of you, then that is a sign the baby has plenty of energy and is doing well.