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  • Megan Johanson

Data for Peace of Mind: Baby Movement Monitoring

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I’m fortunate to be able to work remotely and have been doing so for over a week.

I’m also currently 34 weeks pregnant. About a month ago my doctor gave me information on typical baby movements, which I never tracked too closely before because I could always feel the baby’s movements quite strongly throughout the day and even more frequently during the evenings/nights.

However, in the last few days I haven’t noticed as many kicks or movements as before so I decided to record all baby movements today.

Call me obsessive if you must, but once again data comes to the rescue.

How I Recorded the Movements

According to my doctor, if you are working during the day, you will probably notice at least 10 movements between 8am and 5pm without even focusing on it. I wasn’t sure I had been feeling that many so I today wrote down the time of every movement I felt between 8am and 5pm as well as a rating of 1 (small movement/kick), 2 (medium), or 3 (big).

Handwritten time tracking of baby's movements.
Handwritten time tracking of baby's movements.

How to Read the Chart

By turning the data into a bar chart, I get a big picture view of the baby’s movement throughout the day. Each bar is a movement, though because I tracked the movements by minute, the bars are very thin and the instances where it looks like a thicker/darker bar are times when the baby moved several times close together.

The length of the bar corresponds to the strength of the movement: a small movement is a short bar and a big movement is a long bar.

Here is what I tracked:

Chart showing all of baby's movements during the work day and the strength of each.

My Main Findings

1. The good news is that we can see immediately that the baby has moved way more than 10 times (68 times!), though today I was definitely paying more attention to every movement than I normally would. Also, I counted movements that felt more like the baby shifting in addition to actual kicks, which could be increasing the number.

I would never have guessed that many movements occurred in 9 hours, which is why data trumps intuition and anecdotes.

2. There are not a lot of instances of big movements, which is probably why I felt as though the baby hadn’t been moving enough in recent days. I was used to feeling stronger kicks.

3. Somewhat surprisingly, eating lunch seemed to have little impact on the kicks. In fact, there were only 3 movements that occurred between noon and 1pm.

Chart emphasizing the decreased movement over my lunch hour.

4. There was an increase in movements later in the day, particularly between 4 and 5pm. I'm not too surprised by this because as I already mentioned I feel the baby moving the most during the evening and night.

Chart depicting an increase of baby movement starting around 4pm.

Overall, I'm reassured by the findings and glad that I made the effort to track the baby's movements.

Have you ever challenged your personal assumptions by tracking something rigorously? You might be surprised by the results!


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