Have you heard about what a foetal kick chart is? Every 18 and 25 weeks, while women who have gone through pregnancy can sense the flutters as early as 14 weeks as they already know how it feels.
As precious as these kicks are, and although you just want to cherish or live in these moments, you should also be making a mental note to track your baby’s movements to understand their activity pattern. A foetal kick chart is one way you can do this.
What Is Foetal Movement
Let’s first define what it measures to learn about the importance of a foetal kick chart. Foetal movement is used to describe a baby’s movements in the womb. The mother can feel the baby’s movements, indicating that everything is going well with the pregnancy.
Foetal movement is important because it helps ensure the baby is growing and developing normally.
During pregnancy, the foetus will move around in a variety of ways. Most movements are gentle, but there may be times when they become more forceful or even painful for the mother. While this can be alarming at first, it should not cause concern unless there is no explanation for them (such as when she has eaten recently).
Image Source: iStock
What Does Foetal Baby Movement Feel Like
The first time you feel your baby move is truly an amazing experience.
The first movements are usually detected around 16 weeks of pregnancy, but they don’t always stay regular until around 20 weeks.
These movements will probably feel like little flutters of your baby’s limbs or body. You may also feel them move their head from side to side or even sense that they are rolling inside you.
In the early stages of pregnancy, these movements can be hard to pick up on if you are feeling them for the first time. However, as the pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, it will be easier for you to feel these movements more regularly.
How to Count Foetal Movement
You may have heard that counting your baby’s movements can help you predict when they will arrive. This is because the rate of your baby’s kicks will increase as they grow, and if you know what a normal kick feels like, you’ll be able to tell if something is up.
This method is not foolproof—many factors can affect the number of movements your baby makes, including their position in the womb and whether or not they’re awake. But it’s still a good idea to keep track of this information when you’re pregnant, just in case!
How to Do It:
It’s important to know how to count them and what they mean.
Aside from a fetal kick chart, use a kick counter. You can count movements by feeling the baby move.
If you’re feeling the baby move, it’s best to do it simultaneously every day and use the same method each time you count movements. This will help you accurately read how often your baby moves day and night.
When counting kicks with a kick counter, keep it close to your tummy so that you can easily see the number on it change as your baby moves around inside you. If it’s hard to see or too far away from your belly button, try moving it closer so you can easily read it without having to squint or strain your eyes too much!
If you have been having regular Braxton Hicks contractions, count them as well (they should be 10-20 minutes apart and last for 30 seconds). Record both sets of numbers on a chart or app to see how things change over time. You might notice patterns emerge as your pregnancy progresses!
Pregnant woman worried about foetal movement
Sudden Burst of Foetal Movement
When you’re pregnant, a lot is going on! And one of those things is sudden bursts of foetal movement. These bursts can happen any time—morning or night—and they’re usually not painful. They can feel like butterflies fluttering around inside your tummy, or they might even feel like gas bubbles popping. It’s normal!
You might wonder why this happens… well, it’s because our bodies are incredible machines! Your body knows exactly what needs to happen for your baby to grow properly, so it does its best to make sure everything is working as it should be by sending signals to the placenta (the organ that connects your baby with their umbilical cord) and causing these sudden bursts of movement.
You’ll start feeling them around week 20 of your pregnancy, and they’ll continue until birth (usually around week 40).
When to Worry About Foetal Movement
So how do you know when something is wrong? Here are some signs that could indicate an issue:
- You haven’t felt any movement for 24 hours. This means that the baby has stopped moving around in the womb and needs help from outside sources. The longer it goes on without movement, the more likely it is that something serious is going on.
- The movements feel different than usual. If they feel unusually strong or weak, or if they’re happening at unusual times (like early morning), this might be a sign that something’s wrong with either mum or baby.
- You have pain when feeling foetal movement (or other symptoms like vomiting). Pain can be a sign of placenta previa (where the placenta is located over other organs such as the cervix), which can lead to dangerous bleeding during delivery; or placental abruption.
Rapid Foetal Movement in the Third Trimester
Rapid foetal movement is a common occurrence in the third trimester of pregnancy. It’s often accompanied by a feeling of movement in the abdomen, which can be mild or strong, and it’s completely normal.
You might have heard that rapid foetal movement could mean something is wrong with your baby, but that’s not true. Rapid foetal movements are actually important for your baby’s development, as they help them to practice breathing and other skills needed for life outside of the womb.
If you’re concerned about the number or intensity of your baby’s movements, talk to your doctor about it. You may need extra monitoring during this time to ensure everything is okay with you and your baby.
What Is Foetal Movement Chart
A foetal movement chart is a method of tracking the movements of your unborn baby. It is a way to tell how healthy your pregnancy is and how well it is progressing. It can also help you figure out when you might have contractions and give you an idea of what types of things will happen in the coming hours or days.
You can get one from your doctor or make one yourself using a notebook or tablet app. You should start using it as soon as possible after you find out that you are pregnant because you will have more time to keep track of everything before it gets too hard to remember.
Why Is Foetal Behaviour Important
Many of us know this: an active baby in the belly is a healthy baby. This is why understanding their behaviour or activity pattern can help you flag any possible signs of distress.
Tracking their movements is especially important within the third trimester when your baby’s kicks should be regular and strong. Any unusual pattern changes in movement could indicate that your pregnancy may be at risk of complications. This fact is supported by various studies, including one conducted by BMA Pregnancy and Childbirth, which revealed that changes in activity are also linked to the risk of stillbirth – a heartbreaking tragedy we mummies pray never to face.
With this, you have probably heard about kick counting and with good reason. Kick counting remains one of the best ways to track your baby’s activity pattern, as you will know what “normal” activity is for him or her and when it is.
It is good to practice counting your baby’s kicks daily, especially in your 28th week of pregnancy when your baby’s kicks are more prominent. In doing so, you are able swiftly to act on contacting your doctor when you sense any signs of any abnormal activity patterns.
Image Source: iStock
What Is a Foetal Kick Chart
A foetal kick chart is a way for you to track your baby’s movements. It’s easy to track how active your little one is and how often those kicks occur.
There are a few different ways you can do this. The first—and probably most popular—is with a paper chart that you can buy at your local pharmacy or drug store. These charts usually come with stickers or tick marks that you can use to mark down when you feel your baby move (or kick).
Another option is an app on your smartphone or tablet that will help you track your baby’s movements. The best apps will have a built-in timer and calendar so that all your information is in one place.
Finally, some websites offer free resources for tracking foetal kick movements. These websites will ask for basic information about yourself and give you access to a dashboard where you can see everything about your pregnancy as it progresses.
When to Start Counting Baby Kicks
When your baby is about to be born, their movements become more regular and stronger. It’s a good idea to start counting these movements from the time you’re about 16 weeks pregnant.
Counting kicks can help you determine if there are any problems with the development of your baby’s heart or lungs.
Is Counting Kicks During Pregnancy Important
Counting kicks during pregnancy is a fun and exciting way to connect with your unborn baby. The more you know about your baby’s movements, the better able you’ll be to tell when something is wrong. Your baby’s movements are an important part of their development and indicate how well they’re growing.
So, counting kicks during pregnancy is important, but it’s also a lot of fun! You may find that as your pregnancy progresses, you’ll be able to tell what type of day your baby had by the number of movements he or she makes in the womb.
For example, if your baby is moving around a lot during the day but seems to slow down at night, then it could mean that he or she has been having trouble sleeping due to allergies or other issues outside the womb, which will affect their health in later life.
What Counts as a ‘Kick’?
Besides actual baby kicks, their twists, turns, swishes, rolls and jabs also count as one movement. However, baby hiccups do not count as a kick – these often feel repetitive or rhythmic twitching or a pulsating motion.
But, if you are unsure if your baby has hiccups or is kicking, one method to differentiate this is by moving around. Sometimes, if you reposition yourself, your baby may move as he or she feels uncomfortable. You can also eat something to stimulate their senses. If the twitching or repetitive feeling continues to linger after this or when you are still, it could just be a case of the hiccups.
Tracking your kicks using a foetal kick chart or other method: Count to 10
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends that mothers chart how long it takes to feel 10 movements within two hours at least once a day. However, you should not count one session for more than two hours – this way, you will be able to properly identify their activity pattern and take notice when there is a sudden change in movement during these active periods.
There are many mediums you can use to track your kicks. Some mummies prefer using a printable chart, jotting it down in a notebook or with a digital kick counter (such theAsianparent kick counter on our app). When counting kicks, there are three main and very crucial things to note down during your sessions – the date, times and, of course, the number of kicks.
If you are keen on recording your kicks manually, here is an example of an easy foetal kick chart format we made that you can follow:
Foetal kick chart example
Recording these movements under each of these columns is crucial. This allows you to observe your baby’s activity pattern to identify how long it normally takes them to move or finish 10 movements.
Kick Counting Tips to Keep In Mind
Certain positions and tips you can follow allow you to feel your baby’s movements better when counting their kicks. Here are some of our top tips:
- Always set aside a time: Choose a time when your baby is most active to feel their kicks. Setting aside this time alone to sit or lie down is important – this will let you feel their movements and count each kick.
- Get comfortable with the right position: Mums know that placing your hands on the abdomen helps you feel the kicks. But, it is equally important to be comfortable to fully concentrate on counting the movements. Many pregnant women prefer to lie on their left side in a comfortable position to count their baby’s movement – lying down as such also allows better circulation, allowing your baby to be much more active. Likewise, you can also count your kicks while sitting down.
- Contact your doctor: If your baby has less than 10 kicks in two hours, don’t panic! Wait for a few hours and start counting your kicks again – if there continue to be less than 10 kicks, it is advisable to contact your doctor immediately. However, if there is a change in their activity pattern that prolongs between three and four days, you should also consult your doctor. Using a foetal monitor, your doctor may conduct a Non-stress Test (NST) in both scenarios to check your baby’s heart rate and movements.
We cannot deny that kick counting can lead to anxious mummies, where some avoid counting kicks all at once because of this – we all want the best for our babies. Any unusual activity can trigger maternal anxiety.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned, counting your kicks and tracking your baby allows you to pick up their behavioural patterns. Yes, we have maternal instinct but tracking your kicks can help your doctor understand your baby’s health, especially in threatening situations.
Scientific studies have also brought to light the benefits of kick counting with expectant mums, especially during their third trimester – it was said that mums are the best evaluator of their baby’s status, and education on kick counting could be one of the main pillars in stillbirth prevention. But, avoid panicking if there is a change and stay calm while contacting your doctor for advice.
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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