Daily Fetal Movement Assessment

Who Gets the Test?

Any woman who wants to can chart her daily fetal movement. These are the normal kicks and rolls that you feel as your baby moves. Your doctor may recommend keeping track of these movements if you have a higher risk of problems during pregnancy. You may be at higher risk if you have a health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

What the Test Does

Babies tend to move around a lot. You'll probably start to feel those first kicks at about 16-25 weeks(average is about 20-22 weeks) -- or earlier if this isn't your first pregnancy. Checking daily fetal movement is an easy way to reassure yourself that your baby is doing well.

How the Test Is Done

This isn't a test exactly -- it's something you would chart on your own, and let your doctor know if there's a problem.

Sit or lie on your side in a comfortable spot during a time of day when your baby is usually active. This may be after eating or moving around. If you lie down, lie on your left side, since your baby will have better circulation. There are many ways to chart movements. The simplest one is to record the amount of time it takes for you to feel 10 movements, such as kicks, rolls, or jabs. You should feel 10 movements in no more than 2 hours. Write down the time and day in a journal. If you don't feel your baby move about 10 times in 2 hours, call your doctor.

What to Know About Test Results

In general, you should feel 10 movements in 2 hours. If you're feeling fewer than that -- or have noticed a dramatic increase or decrease in movement -- call your doctor.

How Often the Test Is Done During Pregnancy

You may start counting movements at around 28 weeks. Some women chart their baby's movements every day after that. Some don't. Ask what your doctor recommends.

Other Names for This Test

Fetal movement counting, fetal kick counts

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on July 13, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

ACOG: Special Tests for Monitoring Fetal Health.

Utah Department of Health: Your Baby's Activity Record.

Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Williams, 2010.

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