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Fetal Kick Count
What is a Fetal Kick Count?

Soon your doctor will ask you to begin performing a fetal kick count to monitor how your baby is doing in the womb. You’ve probably already noticed your baby has active and quiet times during the day, and this is normal. When you need to worry is when your baby goes longer than normal without moving, kicking and squirming during his or her usual awake times.

How Is it Done? 
There are many ways to perform a fetal kick count, but most doctors will recommend that you try to do it at a time each day when your baby is usually active. You’ll want to feel your stomach and write down on a piece of paper the times and when your baby moves. A kick, squirm, wriggle or poke count—hiccups do not! Though count numbers and goals differ between care givers, the average goal is to get ten movements within a four hour period of time.

Before beginning your fetal kick count, you might want to have a brisk walk to get your blood moving. Babies are usually more active after a snack—try some peanut butter crackers, or some fruit juice. Then lie down on your left side with a clock nearby, and prepare to count! It’s a good routine to perform daily around the same time if possible.

What If… 
If it takes longer than four hours or the amount of time your doctor specified, or if the movements are less vigorous, do call your health care provider. It’s better to ask if you’re concerned than to wait until there’s an emergency situation. There’s a possibility your baby could be in distress for many different reasons. Your health care provider may want to have you come in to listen to the baby’s heart beat. He may perform a non-stress test, which involves monitoring of your baby’s heartbeat and movements from the outside of your stomach. If needed, the doctor may want to also get an ultrasound of your baby to make sure everything is fine.

Even if there’s nothing wrong with your unborn child, calling your doctor will give you peace of mind and relieve stress that your baby doesn’t need to experience!

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