Once your first trimester is complete, it’s time to begin using your OPERATION DUE DATE MOM & BABY TRACKING CHART which may become part of your medical record. With so many new and exciting changes taking place each week, it’s important to keep track of the most important ones for the health of you and your baby. Our chart allows you to track your pregnancy from a weekly chronicle beginning with Week 13 to a daily register monitoring your baby’s Movement Counts beginning around Week 28 until delivery.
You will begin at Week 13 tracking your weight (noting if any edema is present), your blood pressure (BP), your urine (noticing the presence of protein/sugar, etc.), your baby’s fetal heart rate and your baby’s fetal movements once they begin. You will have fundal height measured at every visit beginning around Week 16.
Once Week 28 is reached, movement counting will be started. If the thought of counting and charting your baby’s movements makes you nervous, remember that it’s the safest way for you to monitor your baby’s every day. Studies inform us that being attentive to your baby’s movements and informing your health care team of any changes such as speeding up or slowing down, or changes in sleep-wake cycles, may decrease the likelihood of stillbirth. If you are not using our Mom & Baby Tracking Chart yet, now is the perfect time to begin.
Since you don‘t see your doctor, midwife or health care team every day, it is up to you to pay close attention each day to your baby’s movements. By simply counting your baby’s movements, you will get to know your baby’s daily movement patterns. The consistency in your baby’s movements every day will let you know that your baby is well.
Movement Counting Directions: You can count your movements at any point during the day. We recommend first thing in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening before bed.
Whenever you want to count your baby’s movements, lie on your left side if possible and count every kick, punch, roll, swish, jab and swoosh, but not hiccups. You should be able to count 10 movements in one hour or less, although for many moms it usually takes fewer than 10 minutes. Then, jot down the number of minutes it takes to count 10 movements in your Operation Due Date Mom & Baby Tracking Chart.
You may wonder, “How will I know if something isn’t right?” You are looking for anything different or out of the ordinary. For example: Let’s say you always do your movement counts at 7am, immediately following breakfast, and it usually takes about 5 minutes to count your 10 movements. If one morning, at the same time, it suddenly took you 45 minutes to get 10 movements, that would be considered out of the ordinary. You might want to wait a little, and do another movement counting session just to be sure. But if you are truly concerned, call your health care team.
Another example: You may count 4 or 5 movements in an hour instead of the usual 10 movements. Count your movements again. If, for any reason, you are still not able to obtain the usual 10 movements in your normal amount of time, you detect an unusual level of activity for your baby (an increase or decrease in fetal movement), or you notice any sudden changes in movement, call your health care team to make sure that your baby is well. If you are unable to contact or visit your health care team, go to Labor and Delivery (L&D) as most L&D units will see you immediately for Decreased Fetal Movements (DFM), or go to the nearest Emergency Room (ER).
Discuss any changes to your tracking chart with your health care team. Don’t ever hesitate to call your health care team about any questions or concerns that you may have or comments they have made which you don’t understand. Your team is there to educate and inform you, that’s their job! You know your baby best, so always trust your gut.