Updated: Mar 15
The third trimester is the last phase of your pregnancy. It lasts approximately from weeks 28 to 40. This is the time when you are getting ready for the birth of your baby, this is an exciting time and to feel positive about the next stage, it's a good idea to start preparing for your first forty days after childbirth.
During this phase your baby's movements are more obvious and counting your unborn baby's kicks (or movements) during the third trimester of your pregnancy can be a valuable tool for monitoring your baby's health. Don’t panic if you’re not sure what you’re feeling. For a couple of weeks, it may be difficult to distinguish between gas and the real thing, but very soon, you will notice a pattern. You will gradually learn your baby’s sleeping and waking cycles when he or she is most active, and what seems to trigger activity.
IN THIS ARTICLE
1. What is kick counting in pregnancy?
Counting kicks or counting the movements your baby makes is a way to monitor your baby. You will be tracking your unborn baby's kicks and movements in the womb in a certain time period. Most babies tend to be more active in the evening hours. Fetal movement normally increases during the day with peak activity late at night.
Changes in movement patterns can sometimes indicate the fetus (unborn baby) is under stress. Knowing your baby's normal movement patterns can help you sense when something seems off.
Many women will begin feeling their baby kick around 20 weeks into pregnancy. If it’s your first pregnancy, it might be later. By the time your third trimester rolls around (28 weeks of pregnancy), you should have a general sense of your baby's patterns in the womb.
📌Talk about your baby’s movements with your OBGYN at your prenatal visits.
2. What do baby kicks feel like?
Baby kicking or moving in the womb might feel like a flutter in your tummy. It could feel like a twitch, a nudge or even hunger pangs.
The feeling of baby kicking will continue to change throughout your pregnancy from choreographed movements at 6 months, to stronger punches and kicks at 7 months, to wriggling and turning as baby rapidly grows in months 8 and 9.
3. Counting Baby Kicks is Important.
▶️ Counting your baby’s kicks (and jabs, pokes and rolls!) is important because a change in movement in the third trimester is often the earliest sign of distress in a baby.
▶️ Decreased movement is an early sign of a baby in distress.
▶️ Daily monitoring lets you to detect any significant change in your baby’s movements that may indicate potential problems.
▶️ When you know what is normal for your baby, then you are more alert to potential red flags.
4. When should you start counting?
Kick counting is more important in the third trimester (between weeks 28 and 40).
In case of high risk pregnancy your OBGYN may ask you to start earlier.
5. Steps to count your baby's kicks.
Choose a time when you can be undisturbed for at least an hour.
Lie on your left side or sit with your feet propped up. Make yourself comfortable.
Place your hands on your belly.
Start a timer or watch the clock.
Note the time of the first kick.
Keep counting until you get to 10 kicks.
Once you reach 10 kicks, jot down how many minutes it took.
6. How much should baby move throughout the day?
▶️ The best person to tell this to you is your OBGYN.
▶️ In general, it is recommended that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel 10 movements within one hour, maximum within two hours.
▶️ If you don't feel 10 movements in two hours, it's OK. Wake up your baby or you can try again when your baby is more active.
▶️ You may notice your baby is more active at certain times during the day. It’s common to notice more movement after you've eaten a meal or when you lie down on bed to sleep.
▶️ Babies tend to be more active in the night.
▶️ If you are still unable to feel your baby move, contact your OBGYN for advice.
7. How to wake a sleeping baby in the womb?
So when you're desperate to feel your sweet pea wriggle around in your tummy, try these tricks for getting your baby to move and see if you have any luck encouraging those cute little kicks.
8. Fun Activity to try with your partner.
Counting your little one kicking and moving in the womb can be something that you can involve your partner in and do it together.
It will help your partner bond with the baby and will also let you two have some nice time together.
9. Red Flags in counting kicks.
🚩 Your baby is not moving as much as usual.
🚩 It takes longer for your baby to move in the usual length of time.
🚩Your baby has stopped moving.
Remember, its normal for babies to have periods of rest, sleep and activity — just like adults.
In some cases, you may just need to increase the time to two hours instead of one hour. If after two hours you haven’t felt 10 movements, then call your doctor.
Do not take up kick counting as a stressful exercise. Instead look at at it as a a way in which you can bond with your baby.
10. Baby's movement before labour.
Activity levels in the last few weeks before delivery vary widely. Some babies move a bit slowly, but some keep up the pace.
Even during the last month of pregnancy, you should still feel your little one moving every day — and you should even continue to feel baby’s movements right before labor.
🚩 If there's a noticeable decrease at any point, let your doctor know about it immediately.
11. Can too much movement mean fetal distress?
Generally, an active baby is a healthy baby. The movement is your baby exercising to promote healthy bone and joint development. All pregnancies and all babies are different, but it's unlikely that lots of activity means anything other than your baby is growing in size and strength.
🚩 However, a sudden increase of fetal movements is a sign of acute fetal distress, contact your doctor immediately.
12. Download the Baby Kick's Tracker. (Included in the Third Trimester Freebies Bundle). Click below ⬇️
New Mother's articles are written after analysing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Below are our references.
Approach to the fetal movements: a pilot study of six cases. https://www.scielo.br/j/anp/a/yBPcJgG9vtM8SHXwMmMYLzf/?lang=en
Baby movements in pregnancy. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-symptom-checker/baby-fetal-movements
Pregnancy—your baby’s movements and what they mean. http://brochures.mater.org.au/brochures/mater-mothers-hospital/pregnancy-your-baby-s-movements-and-what-they-mean
Your Baby’s Movements During Pregnancy. https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/aby3689
Hearing in the Womb. https://lozierinstitute.org/dive-deeper/hearing-in-the-womb/
Janet A DiPietro et al.; (2002); What does fetal movement predict about behavior during the first two years of life?. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12115294/
Baby movements during pregnancy. https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/baby-movements-during-pregnancy
Your baby’s movements in pregnancy. https://www.rcog.org.uk/for-the-public/browse-all-patient-information-leaflets/your-babys-movements-in-pregnancy/
Your Baby’s Activity Record. https://mihp.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/kickcounts.pdf
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