Pregnancy is a happy, hopeful time, but it comes with a lot of rules — no smoking, no drinking, no unpasteurized cheeses, take your prenatal vitamins — the list never ends. The rules can get tedious and annoying, but one thing's for sure, they are there to ensure you and your baby are the healthiest you can possibly be. When you start your third trimester, doctors urge moms to make it a rule to count their baby's kicks, but does the kick count actually matter? Is this one rule you can ignore?
When my sister was eight months pregnant, it was the kick counts that saved her from losing her baby. She made it a routine to count her baby's movements every evening, but one day, when she noticed a decrease in the count and movement, she called her doctor. She was rushed in for an emergency C-section, because it turned out her baby was in distress. Paying attention and keeping track of her baby's movements saved her baby's life.
So what are kick counts exactly? According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), when pregnant moms feel their baby's movements, they can keep track of them, or count them, in order to distinguish a pattern of movement, alerting them if the movement decreases or changes. This kind of awareness can prevent stillbirth and other issues.
The APA suggested that all pregnant moms, especially moms with high-risk pregnancies, take time every day to count movements, like kicks, rolls, swishes, or jabs, beginning at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Counting kicks is pretty easy, and there are a number of ways you can keep track of them, from specialized apps like Count the Kicks, or a simple notebook. Following all the rules of pregnancy might be tiresome, but kick counts can be a fun way to create a bonding time for you and your baby, and can more importantly, save your baby's life.