Counting your baby's movements

I am nearing the end of my second trimester and I sometimes don't feel my baby move for a while. This scares me. A friend told me she counts her baby's movements. How do you do this?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Fetal movement can be quite variable. Babies in utero have sleep and wake cycles of their own.

There are many methods to count fetal movement. Around 28 weeks your care provider will discuss counting fetal movements. Most methods involve counting any fetal flutter or movement for a period of several hours. For example, start counting when you get up in the morning. You should feel at least 10 fetal movements by noon (or in about four hours). If you do not reach this number, drink some juice and count for another hour -- then you should reach 10.

Another method is to lie down for an hour after dinner, or a time when your baby is most active. You should feel 10 fetal movements in two hours. If you don't, call your care provider.

Remember that healthy baby is an active baby and although they are not supposed to "slow down" as term approaches, the character of the movements change.

If your care provider feels that your baby is not active enough, or wants to reassure you, they can perform a non-stress test (monitoring the heart rate in response to fetal movement) .

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