Friday, October 28, 2011

Article: by Chiqui Brosas, Is My Fetus Well?


Fetal movement counting has been proven to be a safe in telling the condition of the fetus. It is a test that a pregnant mother can do all by her self. It is based on the premise that a healthy fetus has several periods of activities in a day so that no movement or a sudden distinct decrease in the movement may mean a decrease of oxygen to the baby. Some obstetricians may ask their patients to routinely perform this while others only suggest this if the mother is considered high risk and there is concern for the baby’s well-being.

Fetal movement counting is done late in the pregnancy, on the third trimester and usually on the thirty second gestational week and onwards unless your care giver sees it necessary to perform earlier. There have been conflicting studies about the conclusions of the test. Some show that there has been a decrease in the number of stillbirth from low risk women while others do not show any distinct advantage. A disadvantage may be in the length of time it takes to do the test, usually as long as an hour or so a day and every day for a given period of time. It may also cause needless anxiety to the mother wondering if her baby is moving or not and if it may mean her baby is not well. This increase in the level of anxiety is sometimes deemed as unnecessary pressure on the overly concerned mother especially since there has been no clear improvement in the results of the outcome. However, the advantages are; it is non invasive and easy to do. It is also convenient because one does not have to go to the hospital or her doctor’s clinic to perform the test. Best of all it is cost efficient. Other mothers find it amusing since they get to know the activity levels and movement patterns of their baby.

It is normal for babies to move several times during the day. Some are remarkable active while others are not so active. They have several active movements when they are awake and quiet periods when asleep characterized by less movement. Reduced activity is felt in the latter part of the pregnancy however it does not slow down remarkably. Other wise this may mean there is valid concern and it is best to advice your care provider who may perform more tests to rule out the problem. A nonstress test may be performed or even an early delivery if necessary. When observing the fetal movement counting, we are actually looking for a marked decrease in the movement. However if a dramatic increase in activity is monitored over a few hours, it is also note worthy and must be reported as well. This could mean a decrease in the oxygen of the fetus which could perhaps be a result of a placental problem or pressure from the umbilical cord.

The method is very simple. It is done to keep track of the number of movements your baby does. One possible way is the count-to-ten method. Set aside a certain time each day where you can be relax and undisturbed so you can focus on your baby’s movement. Chose that period in the day where you observe the baby moves the most. Usually it is in the evenings after dinner. It may also be the most convenient time. Chart the movement daily, roughly at the same time. Do not worry if you miss a day every now and then. When you are ready to begin, choose a comfortable position. Start to record the time it takes for your baby to move ten times. Hiccups are not included. Sometimes it could be a long squirm and other times a quick kick. A long movement must be distinctly recorded from the start of the movement to the end of the movement and is considered only one score even if there were several fast kicks that came along with it. This varies on an individual basis. If your baby is asleep, you may try to wake him up by making a loud noise or you could wait until he is awake. The important thing to note is how your baby’s number of movements compare with his own chart and not with another’s. If there has been no activity within twelve hours, report this to your doctor. 

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