We cannot say it enough: #MovementsMatter! Do you know *why* your doctor asks at every checkup if your baby is moving? It's because movement is your baby's BEST way to communicate with you.
There's no one set standard for what constitutes "normal" fetal movement, because every baby and every pregnancy is different. Get to #KnowYourNormal because that's the best way to get to know your baby!
And here's the MOST IMPORTANT PART: If you notice any changes, you need to get checked out RIGHT away. Even if you have an appointment soon, it's better to #AlwaysAsk, and don't hesitate to #UseYourMomVoice to ensure your concerns are heard. You and your baby are a team!
What to Look For: Frequency, Strength, Pattern
1. How FREQUENTLY does your baby move?
Count those kicks! How long does it typically take for your baby to reach 10 movements? (Don't worry, a movement or kick is whatever you define it to be for your baby!)
2. How STRONG are your baby's movements?
Flutters, flurry, or fierce? The types of movements your baby is able to do will change over time, but even as they "run out of room" the strength of their movement should keep growing!
3. What PATTERNS does baby typically show?
What times of day is your baby usually active? Are there particular stimuli (laying down, voices, pokes, music, lights) that they usually respond to?
REMEMBER: Every baby is different. What's normal for this baby may not be what was normal for your previous baby, and certainly not what's normal for your friend's baby. It's important to #KnowYourNormal so that if you notice any changes, you have a baseline to compare to!
Babies DO NOT Slow Down!
We've heard it too many times, and this misinformation is lethal. So let's set the record straight: Evidence shows that babies DO NOT slow down at the end of pregnancy.
Fetal movements may evolve over time as baby has less room to play, but their kicks should NOT get weaker or stop (at least, not for any longer than it takes them to nap!). And baby should remain active, responsive, and strong right up through delivery - going quiet to "get ready for birth" is a dangerous old wives' tale that needs to be eradicated!
Also, there is no set standard for how often a baby should move. That's why you'll hear doctors say everything from "10 kicks in 2 hours" to "10 kick in 24 hours." The only numbers that apply to your baby are whatever numbers are normal for them.
In fact, you should take note of ANY CHANGE to your baby's normal frequency, patterns, or strength of movement, as this can be an indication that your baby is unwell and needs urgent medical attention. Medical providers used to be mainly concerned about reduced fetal movements, but newer standards are flagging any altered fetal movement. Even a sudden *increase* in movements - anything you might describe as wild or frantic or crazy - could potentially be a sign that your baby is in trouble!
As always, DO NOT DELAY in reaching out to your healthcare provider - or better yet, go right in to be checked out! - if you ever have ANY concerns. Swift action could literally save your baby's life.
Handy Tool: Count the Kicks app!
The FREE Count the Kicks app is a GREAT resource for getting to know your little one! This awesome tool will regularly remind you to kick back and spend some time with baby, recording their movements and rating their strength (1 "fluttery" to 5 "fierce"), and includes up-to-the-minute science-backed empowered pregnancy tips.
Every mama is busy and it can be easy to second-guess our instincts - but if you're regularly checking in with your baby using the app, you'll have this potentially lifesaving data (literally! check out their #babysave stories!) right at your fingertips.
The app works for single babies or twins, and is available on Android, iPhone, and Apple Watch in 12 languages! So what are you waiting for? Download #CountTheKicks and start getting to #KnowYourNormal!
Ready to learn more?
Here's what you can find in the rest of the Empowered Pregnancy section: