KEEPING TRACK OF KICKS
They were movements that reassured Cindy her pregnancy was on track and the baby within was healthy, since a lack of movement can indicate foetal distress or complications.
“I carried up into the 42nd week with both my pregnancies and in those last two weeks it was important for me to keep track that baby was moving enough,” says Cindy. “My midwife suggested I kept a foetal movement chart, where I was asked to count all baby’s movements or kicks in four 30-minute periods each day.”
Most movements came at the same time each day, adds Cindy, which allowed her to estimate baby’s sleep and awake patterns and know what was normal for what time. “Usually I’d feel movement when I was in the bath, after a meal or when I was lying down.”
While there’s no ideal number of movements, midwife Heather Pieterse, from Midwives Exclusive, says it’s crucial to know your baby’s typical movement patterns after the 25-week mark, and to be aware of any irregularities.
“The usual rule is that babies should have more than four movements in an hour but it depends on your baby’s regular rhythm and pattern of movement,” she explains. “Some babies are quieter and calmer while others are very busy. Your baby should keep to her usual pattern of movement.”
“If movements are slower [than normal] or irregular, it is a good idea to contact your midwife or gynaecologist to ensure all is well with baby,” Heather adds.
If it’s the opposite and baby’s kicking a lot, that’s not really a cause for concern because babies can’t kick “too much”, she says. However, increases in movement often come before decreases and should be noted in case there’s a problem.
Lastly, Heather points out that in the weeks leading up to delivery (36 weeks and onwards) babies will often sleep longer and move differently, shuffling side to side rather than outright kicks and shoves. As long as your baby’s movements fit her typical patterns, you have nothing to worry about.