Fetal Surveillance

Baby movement counts

Babies start moving around six weeks gestation. Early movements are not felt by the mother, but can be seen on ultrasound.

First time mothers usually feel movements around 20 weeks, but the mothers who have had a baby before may feel these earlier, sometimes as early as 16 weeks. At first, movements are weak and may be mistaken for gas. Some people describe them as feeling “like butterflies.”

All babies have their own movement pattern. Some babies never seem to stop moving. Most babies are more active in the evening or after their mother has eaten a meal. At other times, the baby will be quiet for a long period lasting up to an hour. Strong rhythmic movements may be due to hiccups.

Kick counts

After 26 weeks gestation, if you notice any change in the pattern of your baby’s movement, especially if it has decreased, you should count your baby’s movements. 

Have something sweet and cold to drink and recline with your hands on your abdomen. Pay attention to the movements and count distinctive fetal movements. Rolling and wiggling also count as movements. If the count does not reach six movements in two hours, go to the Obstetrical Assessment Room (Rm 2S-177) or page your midwife. Do not wait until the next day.

woman having a biophysical profile

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

Your health care provider may want you to have a biophysical profile during your pregnancy. This involves doing an ultrasound. It may be done for numerous reasons including:

  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Reduced fetal movement
  • Complications of previous pregnancy
  • Concern about the growth of your baby
  • Being past your due date

BPPs are done in the Prenatal Service Office at North York General Hospital (Rm 179), next door to the Assessment Room. Phone number: 416-756-6336.

What is a BPP?

A BPP is a an ultrasound that helps identify a baby who may be in trouble.

It includes looking at four things:

  • Body movements
  • Fetal breathing movements
  • Fetal tone
  • Volume of amniotic fluid

Your health care provider will be notified of the test results.