Besides the incredible experience that feeling your baby move brings, how can fetal movement be a sign of labor? As full terms nears, many babies slow their movements as if saving their energy for the big day. Mothers might notice more whole body movements like shifting position rather than the streams of kicks and pokes that were so prevalent over the past few months.
This is due to several factors, the first of which is that the baby is rapidly running out of room. She's outgrowing the efficiency apartment that was for so long quite roomy and spacious. The second is that as the baby engages in the pelvis, she has become more constricted and her movements more limited.
While it is typical at the end of pregnancy for fetal movement to slow, regular activity should still be felt. Completing a kick count or a kick chart can track these movements if concerns arise surrounding changes in the baby's activity level. It can be recommended by a care provider or done independently for peace-of-mind.
To track fetal activity, select an hour span during the day when it's easy to pay attention to feeling the baby move. A standard guideline is that at least 10 movements within an hour should be felt. It's always good to remember that some babies are more active than others. In some cases, 10 movements may be too few. The typical activity level of the baby should be taken into account when tracking fetal activity.
If you are concerned at all about feeling your baby move less, please contact your care provider to discuss your concerns.
Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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