To me, the 24 week mark in a pregnancy is a very big deal. It’s the moment when the baby becomes viable outside the womb. Basically, the doctors and nurses will now do everything in their power to save my baby if he were born after today. It’s such a good feeling knowing that we’ve made it that far.
But, 24 weeks is typically when I start to have problems with my pregnancy. Most of the time, I will go into premature labor. Although I cannot dilate on my own, the doctors worry about the stress that all of my contractions can put on the baby. I’ve had more mag-sulfate given to me to stop the contractions than any one person should be exposed to.
That’s why at 24 weeks, I start doing Kick Counts. I know I’ve posted about this before, but it’s such an important topic that I want to make sure my newer readers are aware of it… and those that are pregnant right now.
Many pregnant women aren’t aware of the importance of kick counts. In all my pregnancies, I have never once had a doctor advise me to start counting kicks or to keep a record of those kicks.
When I was pregnant with Jace – my 3rd baby – I had a very, very difficult pregnancy with him. We were constantly in and out of the hospital because of my continuous contractions, and I was put on strict bed rest. (With a 1 year old and a 6 year old at home. Didn’t work so well.)
I went in for my 38 week checkup, and I mentioned to the doctor that the baby didn’t move much at all. I had never made it to 38 weeks in a pregnancy before, so when he told me that it was just because the baby was out of room, I had to believe him. After all, he had the doctors degree, I just had a mother’s intuition. At that appointment, we scheduled my induction for exactly 39 weeks because of all the complications. For the next week, I worried and cried over how little the baby moved, and would do everything in my power to get him to “react” to me pushing on my belly or poking him.
We went into the delivery room, they started the pitocin, and labor was fast. The doctor barely made it in the room to catch him. When he did catch Jace, though, the room was silent. Then I heard the doctor whisper “Oh my God.” I heard him smack Jace on the back, and then I heard the sweetest sound I have ever heard: Jace let out a wail. Tears rolled down my face and my husband’s face, so relieved that our baby boy was all right. The doctor quickly cut the cord, and showed it to us… there was a complete knot in the cord. If Jace had been inside me one more day, he probably wouldn’t have made it.
A little less than 2 years later, I got pregnant again, this time with Lucy. Another difficult pregnancy, and more cord issues – Lucy had a 2 Vessel Cord or Single Umbilical Artery. I was terrified beyond words that something could happen. At this point, I still didn’t know anything about kick counts. Had never even heard of them.
A photographer friend of mine was pregnant the same time that I was, only her baby was due a couple of months before Lucy was due. She ended up losing her sweet baby at 39 weeks because of a true knot in his cord. Memories flooded back of my pregnancy with Jace and how that so very easily could have been me just 2 years prior.
After she lost her baby boy, she started the Baby James Project and is an advocate on kick counts now:
http://www.blairblanks.com/kickcount/ – this is her information on kick counts
http://www.blairblanks.com/james/ – this is the story of her sweet baby James
After Blair lost James, I started doing kick counts with my pregnancy religiously. I felt better knowing her patterns and habits, and I had a chart that I could present to the doctor at every visit. It calmed my nerves, and it kept me informed.
When I was pregnant with Parker, (#5), I did tons of research into kick counts. I wanted to make sure I was doing it right, charting it right, and keeping track faithfully. Here are several websites with lots more information that I would highly recommend to you:
Mom4Life.com used to sell a little kick counter that I used religiously with my last pregnancy and will use again this pregnancy, but I no longer see it on their website. It’s this, though, and apparently it’s available at Babies “R” Us Stores and www.target.com: KickTrak There’s also a free app for your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc. available in iTunes: Pregnancy Kick Counter
|Click to print this chart.|
I would highly recommend using one of those and printing out one of the charts from the websites above so you have a hard copy of your baby’s movements.
Please know that I’m not putting up this post to scare you. It’s not my intention at all. I just want you to be informed. I cannot stress the importance of getting to know your baby while he/she is inside you. If you notice a change in movement, SAY SOMETHING. Even if you never do a kick count during your pregnancy, if you feel a decrease in movement, or something just feels “off,” talk to your doctor. Make them listen. You know your baby better than anyone else. I wish so much that I had known about kick counts during my pregnancy with Jace.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. Please consult with your doctor if you have any questions regarding kick counts or if they are right for you. I am merely sharing my experience in order to inform you.