If you are having a normal, low-risk pregnancy, you should be aware of the significance of fetal movements in the third trimester; if you notice decreased movements, you can perform a fetal movement count.
If you have risk factors for adverse perinatal outcomes, your health care provider may advise that you should monitor fetal movements on a daily basis.
If you are counting kicks and do not feel six movements within two hours, you should contact your doctor, nurse or midwife.
Here are some facts about fetal movements:
- Fetal movements are felt by most women regularly after 24 weeks in a predictable way
- Some women do not feel fetal movements, and fetal movement counting cannot be used. Perception may improve with looking at movements during ultrasound scanning, but kick counts are not useful for all women.
- The optimal time for counting may be in the evening, when fetal movement is often increased
- Fetal movements may be better noticed when lying down
- Smoking reduces fetal movements temporarily by increasing carboxyhemoglobin levels and reducing fetal blood flow