By week 34, your baby may be starting to feel less like a sleeping baby and more like an amateur soccer player with kicks, fluttering and movement.
In addition to helping you feel more connected with your baby, these kicks can actually be used to help you determine the health of your baby via a form of measurement known as a kick count.
A kick count measures your baby’s movement patterns to ensure he or she is appropriately active. For example, most babies move 10 or more times in a four-hour period. A kick count gives you a definitive method to track his or her movement.
When you are ready to start taking a kick count, it’s a good idea to use a small notebook or create a worksheet on your computer that helps you track periods of time. Create a grid and label the week at the top (for example, Week 34). Create spaces for each day of the week on the top. Now determine a two-hour time block where you will daily monitor your baby’s movements. A good idea is to measure when you find your baby is most active—such as the time after you eat or when you have taken a walk. Label these times on the left-hand side in 30-minute increments.
Now you’re ready to start taking a kick count. Mark each time you detect a movement, such as a kick. If you reach 10 in a two-hour time span, your baby is moving at a good pace and is developing well.
The keys to the kick count are hitting the magic number of 10 and then establishing a pattern. Your baby’s movements will likely be more pronounced as your pregnancy progresses. Notify your healthcare provider if you observe any changes in kick count—especially if it’s a decrease over time.