When you first begin feeling your baby’s movements inside you, it’s truly amazing and you begin looking forward to more and more movement everyday. There are even some things you can do to make your baby’s movements feel more pronounced, like relaxing in a quiet setting. But there are some moms that swear by drinking really cold water to prompt their baby to move. Whether you just want to feel more kicks or are worried your baby is too quiet in there, you're probably wondering, "Can drinking cold water make my baby move?"
According to a 2013 study by BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, some women feel their baby move a little more after drinking cold drinks, but not all women, and not all the time. So while drinking a cold glass of water may seem like it’s stimulating your baby, it’s not a fully researched fool-proof method, and there’s no evidence-based science to back up this approach.
In an interview with Romper, Dr. Adrienne D. Zertuche, OB-GYN at Taylor, Suarez, Cook, Carroll, and Adams (Division of Atlanta Women's Healthcare Specialists), says that consuming ice cold food or beverage is unlikely to increase fetal movement, as it will be rapidly heated to body temperature as it moves from out of your esophagus and stomach into your bowels. She says a method more likely to increase fetal movement is the consumption of sugar, like soda, juice, fruit, or candy.
It is important to gauge why you are trying to make your baby move in the first place. From the beginning of 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) suggested that mothers, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, should take time out to count their baby’s movements. This is also referred to as “kick counts,” which the APA described as your baby’s patterns of movement, including kicks, rolls, swishes, or jabs. Keeping track of any decreases or changes in movement can prevent stillbirth and other complications.
Because the science is still out on whether cold drinks initiate fetal movement and some patients find that it works, many doctors do use this approach. Dr. Kathryn Wright, OB-GYN at Facey Medical Group, tells Romper that when she wants a patient to do kick counts, she suggests that they drink something cold and sugary, like orange juice. “If she has diabetes,” says Wright, “then I recommend ice water.” She adds that moms should then lie on their left side and concentrate on the baby's movements.
Wright explains that regarding food in general, some women find that their babies sleep after they eat, so they might want to do their kick counts before eating. She says others might find the opposite, so each woman should follow her baby's own behavior patterns. “There are no specific foods that work better than others,” adds Wright, “but high carbohydrate foods will raise one's blood sugar, and therefore the baby's blood sugar, faster than other foods.”
Zertuche explains that if, for any reason, you are concerned that your baby is moving less than normal, especially if you cannot count 10 movements in the hour following a sugary snack, you should call your obstetrician. So if you are drinking ice cold water in an effort to get your baby to move due to lack of movement, you need to see your doctor. Relying on drinks and foods should only be an option if you know your baby is OK, which will require the evaluation of a doctor and ultrasound. If your baby is doing well, then drinking ice water to cop a few more kicks shouldn’t hurt. If it works for you, then enjoy that connection, and make sure to count those sweet movements.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.