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Baby Kicking? Count to 10

by Jane Wangersky | October 9th, 2012 | Pregnancy

About five months into my first pregnancy, as I was standing at the stove, it happened for the first time — I felt a sudden quick burst of activity inside me, not caused by anything I was doing, voluntarily or otherwise. Right away, I knew why moms called it “the baby kicking”. In fact, I turned off the stove and lay down for awhile. Since I couldn’t do that every time the baby felt like moving, I quickly got used to it.

Women will usually begin to feel these movements in the second trimester of pregnancy. Of course, they’re an important sign that things are going well for the baby. Though you don’t exactly miss them if they stop for a while, you may get worried. In some cases, that’s warranted and you’ll need to get help.

So it’s good to learn to monitor your baby’s movements. Womenshealth.gov recommends you do this every day after 28 weeks, using the “count-to-10” method. This just means you pay attention to the movements until you’ve counted 10 — which should be within about 20 minutes. Don’t panic if you don’t get that many, but call your doctor if you go for two hours with less than 10 movements.

Womenshealth also advises you to do this in the evening, when unborn children are typically most active. (After they’re born, this becomes “arsenic hour”.) If you have trouble feeling the movements, try lying down.

It’s important to get an idea of what’s normal for your baby. That way you’ll know if its activity level has changed and can decide whether you should seek advice about it.

Of course, if the baby isn’t moving at all, you’ll need to call your doctor. Do that if anything just feels wrong — often the doctor or nurse will be able to reassure you.

My first soon worked his way up from just kicking to turning himself around and grinding his head into my tailbone (that was what the doctor said he had done, anyway), which kept me from walking for close to a week. I got him into a more comfortable spot eventually, but that’s another story.

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