Counting fetal movements. Method of Cardiff, Pearson, Sadowski

The first movement of a child during a woman’s pregnancy is the most important moment in the life of a mother-to-be, which is always eagerly awaited. After all, while your baby is in the womb, wiggling is his peculiar language, which will tell the mother and the doctor if everything is okay with the baby.

The content of the article:

Fetal movements – when?

Counting fetal movements - methods of Cardiff, Pearson, SadowskiUsually, a woman begins to feel the first movements after the twentieth week, if this is the first pregnancy, and at the eighteenth week in subsequent ones.

True, these terms may vary depending on:

  • the nervous system of the woman herself,
  • from the sensitivity of the expectant mother,
  • from the weight of the pregnant woman (more fat women begin to feel the first movements later, thin ones – a little earlier than the twentieth week).

Of course, the baby begins to move from about the eighth week, but for now there is enough space for him, and only when he grows so much that he can no longer touch the walls of the uterus, the mother begins to feel tremors.

The activity of the baby depends on many factors:

  • timesand days – as a rule, the baby is more active at night
  • physical activity – when the mother leads an active lifestyle, the baby’s movements are usually not felt or are quite rare
  • from food future mother
  • psychological state a pregnant woman
  • from others sounds

An important factor influencing the movements of the child is his character – by nature there are people who are mobile and inactive, and all these features are manifested already during intrauterine development.

From about the twenty-eighth week the doctor may suggest that the expectant mother monitor fetal movements and count them according to a certain scheme. It is believed that this technique is used only when it is not possible to conduct a special examination, for example, CTG or Doppler, but this is not the case.

Now, more and more often, a special table is included in the pregnant woman’s card that will help the expectant mother to mark her calculations.

We consider the perturbations: why and how?

The opinions of gynecologists about the need to keep a diary of the child’s movements differ. Someone believes that modern research methods, such as ultrasound and CTG, are enough to identify the presence of problems, it is easier to go through them than to explain to a woman what and how to count.

In fact, a one-time examination shows the state of the baby at the moment, but changes can occur at any time, so the doctor-to-be usually asks the expectant mother at the reception whether she has noticed any changes in the movements. Such changes may be the reason for sending for a second examination.

Of course, you can keep track of this without counting and keeping records. But keeping a diary, no matter how boring it may seem to a pregnant woman, will help her determine much more accurately how her child is developing.

Why do you need to control the baby’s movements so carefully?

First of all, counting movements helps to understand in time that the child is feeling uncomfortable, to conduct an examination and take the necessary measures. The expectant mother needs to know that:

violent movements of the baby may indicate a lack of oxygen. Sometimes it is enough for a mother to simply change her body position to increase blood flow to the placenta. But if a woman has low hemoglobin, then a consultation with a doctor is necessary. In this case, the mother will be prescribed iron supplements that will help the baby get enough oxygen.
sluggish child activity, as well as the complete absence of movement, should also alert the woman.

Before you panic, you can try to provoke the baby to be active: take a shower, hold your breath, do a few physical exercises, eat and get some rest. If this does not help and the baby does not respond to mother’s actions, there is no movement for about ten hours – an urgent need to consult a doctor. The doctor will listen to the heartbeat with a stethoscope, prescribe an examination – cardiotocography (CTG) or ultrasound with Doppler.

Agree that it is better to play it safe than to worry about the consequences of your inattention. But do not worry if the baby does not make itself felt for two or three hours – the child also has its own “daily routine”, in which the states of activity and sleep alternate.

How to count movements correctly?

This is a rather important question. The main thing is to correctly identify the movement: if your baby first shoved you, then immediately turned and pushed, then this will be considered as one movement, and not as several. That is, the basis for determining perturbation will not be the number of movements made by the baby, but the alternation of activity (both a group of movements and single movements) and rest.

How often should the child move?

Scientists believe that an indicator of a baby’s health is regular ten to fifteen movements per hour during the active state.

A change in the usual rhythm of movements indicates a possible state of hypoxia – a lack of oxygen.

There are several methods for counting movements.… The condition of the fetus can be determined by the British obstetric test, by the Pearson method, by the Cardiff method, by the Sadowski test and other methods. All of them are based on counting the number of movements, differing only in the time and timing of the counting.

The most popular among gynecologists are the methods of Pearson, Cardiff and Sadowski.

Pearson’s method for calculating fetal movements

Counting fetal movements - methods of Cardiff, Pearson, SadowskiD. Pearson’s method is based on twelve-hour observation of the child’s movements. In a special table, from the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy, it is necessary to note the baby’s physical activity every day.

Counting is conducted from nine in the morning to nine in the evening (sometimes the time is suggested from eight in the morning to eight in the evening), the time of the tenth stirring is entered in the table.

How to count according to D. Pearson’s method:

  • in the table, mom marks the start time of counting;
  • any movement of the baby is recorded, except for hiccups – coups, jolts, kicks, etc.;
  • at the tenth movement, the end time of counting is entered in the table.

How to evaluate the results of calculations:

  1. If twenty minutes or less have passed between the first and tenth movements – you don’t have to worry, the baby is quite active;
  2. If ten perturbations took about half an hour – also do not worry, perhaps the baby was resting or simply belongs to the inactive type.
  3. If an hour or more has passed – provoke the baby to move and repeat the count, if the result is the same – this is a reason to see a doctor.

Cardiff method for calculating fetal activity

It is also based on counting the baby’s movements tenfold over a twelve hour period.

How to count:

Just as in the method of D. Pearson, the time of the beginning of the counting of perturbations and the time of the tenth perturbation are noted. If ten movements are noted, in principle, you can no longer count.

How to grade the test:

  • If in the twelve-hour interval the baby has completed his “minimum program” – you don’t have to worry and start counting only the next day.
  • If a woman cannot count the required number of movements, a doctor’s consultation is required.

Sadovski method – baby movement during pregnancy

It is based on counting baby movements after a pregnant woman has eaten food.

How to count:

Within an hour after eating, the expectant mother counts the baby’s movements.

  • If there are not four movements per hour, a control count is carried out for the next hour.

How to evaluate the results:

If the baby shows itself well within two hours (at least four times during the specified period, ideally up to ten), there is no reason for concern. Otherwise, the woman needs to consult a doctor.

What do women think about counting movements?


Why count perturbations? Are these old-fashioned ways better than special research? Is it really advisable to do the counting? The baby moves for himself all day long and is great, today more, tomorrow – less … Or is it still necessary to count?


I don’t think how the babies move, I just make sure that it does not become intense, otherwise we have already received hypoxia …


How is it, why count? Did your doctor explain to you? I had Pearson’s method for counting: This is when you start counting at 9 am and finish at 9 pm. It is necessary to draw a table with two graphs: beginning and end. The time of the first stirring is recorded in the “start” column, and the time of the tenth stirring is recorded in the “end” column. Normally, there should be at least ten perturbations from nine in the morning to nine in the evening. If it moves a little – it’s bad, then CTG, Doppler will be prescribed.


No, I didn’t think so. I also had a count to ten principle, but it was called the Cardiff Method. I wrote down the time interval during which the baby will make ten movements. Normally, it is considered about eight to ten movements per hour, but only if the baby is awake. And it so happens that for three hours he sleeps and does not push. True, here you also need to take into account that if the mother herself is very active, she walks a lot, for example, then she will feel bad movements, or even not feel them at all.


I have been counting since the twenty-eighth week, it is necessary to count !!!! This is already a child and you need to watch out for him to be comfortable …


I considered Sadowski’s method. This is after dinner, at the time from about seven to eleven in the evening, you need to lie on your left side, count the movements and write down during which the child will perform the same ten movements. As soon as ten movements in an hour are completed, you can go to sleep, and if there are fewer movements in an hour, there is a reason to see a doctor. Evening time is chosen because after a meal, the level of glucose in the blood rises, and the child is active. And usually after breakfast and lunch there are other urgent matters, but after dinner you can find time to lie down and count.


My little lyalka moved a little, I spent the entire pregnancy in tension, and the research did not show anything – no hypoxia. The doctor said that she was just either all right, or her character, or we were just so lazy. So do not bother too much on this, breathe more air and everything will be fine!

Have you studied the activity of the baby in the womb? Share your experience with us!

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