How many times should a baby be kicking? Does counting kicks really help? Counting kicks might seem tedious and like a chore, but this simple habit may help alert you of signs that the baby is unwell.
“I didn’t think counting kicks was important until we had a stillbirth for my first pregnancy. For subsequent pregnancies, I started keeping tabs of the kicks every day to help notice any irregularities during my pregnancy,” shared Deanna Lim, now a mother to two lovely girls.
“The more we learnt about the little one in the tummy, the easier it was for us to pick up signs earlier, and that helped in making important decisions for both the baby and myself – such as whether to go for caesarean earlier or wait till my water bag burst and what kind of hospital suits my delivery plan. This can potentially help you save money too.”
Based on recommendations by Tommy’s, a leading research organisation that focuses on miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, you should monitor your baby’s movement patterns from when you start feeling something. This varies for everyone but is usually expected between 18 to 24 weeks. You should also report any reduction in movements immediately and not worry about being paranoid and oversensitive.
“I couldn’t believe it when we lost our firstborn. The entire pregnancy was so smooth that we didn’t even need to worry about anything. If only I counted my kicks more diligently, I may have spotted his lack of movements earlier and he might still be with us today”, laments Deanna in hindsight.
While counting kicks is not usually brought up by gynaecologists, Deanna decided to do so for her second pregnancy after her loss experience. She strongly encourages seeking a gynaecologist who understands your situation and is very supportive throughout your pregnancy journey. Deanna attributed her successful pregnancies to her gynaecologist, who knew that she and her husband were very careful after their loss, and so he taught them how to count kicks, how to keep a lookout for any irregularities and encourage them to voice their concerns.
According to Tommy’s, there is no fixed number of kicks that is deemed normal, but rather it is about observing differences in your baby’s usual patterns. A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll, and can change during your pregnancy journey. There are various ways to keep track of the kicks counted, but Deanna recommends having a systematic schedule to track your baby’s movements.
While she acknowledges the difficulties with managing her anxiety level while counting kicks, having an open communication channel with her gynaecologist helped. To stay motivated in counting kicks, she recommends celebrating different mini-milestones that serve as reminders of how far you have come and to just hang in there a while longer as your baby continues being healthy and growing.
“Your mental wellness plays a key role in your pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. Make sure you have a close support network to help manage your emotions and not let the distress get to your little one in your tummy. When you are emotionally unstable, you may also neglect the kick counting cos you are too overwhelmed with your emotions.”
theAsianparent has just launched a Kick Counter Feature on its app in conjunction with Project #sidekicks – a campaign that espouses the importance of the family unit supporting pregnant mums to ensure good mental health and healthy pregnancy, alongside taking preventive measures such as counting kicks.
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How to Count Your Baby’s Kicks, and Why is It So Important?