You've had a busy day. I mean, A. Really. Busy. Day!! You woke up this morning, ran out the door to work or you were woken up by your toddler, bright and early, to begin the daily duties of parenthood, or both. But now, you finally catch a moment to yourself to breathe and you realize you haven't felt the baby kick. Or you were just too busy to take notice? Some panic sets in but so does your logic. You tell yourself the baby is ok; when you're busy that means the baby is being lulled to sleep with all that coziness and movement.
Whether you are keeping track or not, there is a natural feeling of pause if you haven't given this little one inside you some attention. At the end of pregnancy providers ask you to keep track of baby’s movements everyday. This is called the Kick Count. It helps you learn your baby’s patterns and helps you to be mindful of any changes that might occur. You want to be able to feel 10 movements within a two hour timeframe.
Reality brings you back and you become fully aware you haven't paid attention to kick counts. You barely drank the suggested water intake for pregnancy nor have you even had a moment to stop and take a break. You begin to worry a little more, asking yourself, “How can I settle my brain and body NOW?! How can I relax enough to check on my baby?” You know the baby always does acrobats especially when you are finally ready to go to sleep yourself. You hope the baby starts during summersaults, so your mind can be put at ease. You try to relax as you lay down on the couch, but the baby is still quiet.
The Mini Light Strategy
This is when you pull out your handy-dandy mini mag light (or some sort of pen light) and bring it to your belly. You slowly move the light around waiting for the baby to notice the contrast of light and darkness within. It was once thought that babies could not see in utero but, alas, they do see in that cozy nest you’ve given them. And, this sweet baby, who was sleeping so comfortably, while you were a busy beaver, gives you a really nice swift kick! It takes your breath away. It actually hurt a bit but the relief you feel never felt so good. You move the flashlight to another part of that peaceful home and the baby gives you another kick, and then another. They are not so abrupt as the first, but these feel just as good and you can finally relax. You’ve had a day and this is now the best part; being able to spend one-on-one time with this little one growing inside.
Using a mini flashlight is also a great tool to use when your partner wants to share in the experience of your baby’s movements too. Your partner can be the one to move the flashlight while you relax and enjoy the bond you’ll forever share together. You can also share in the delight of watching your partner’s expression when they first realize they are the cause of baby moving. Or, in my experience, it was the joy of witnessing my teen niece who loved the “100 thousand, million kicks” she just created in my peaceful belly and gleefully declared to her mother. This excited me for when, one day, she also will experience feeling her own baby’s movements.
Get your Baby Moving, Literally
Some other ways to get baby to move include:
As a doula, using a mini light is just one of several favorite tools I share from the litany of information from my personal birth catalog. Sharing and imparting information such as this is like my hug to you so you can have a fulfilling experience bringing baby earthside. Enjoy those baby kicks!
Birth and postpartum doula