All women can remember being midpoint into their pregnancies and getting a clean bill of health from the doctor. Then a day goes by and baby doesn’t make a peep. Moms immediately think that there must be something off. So, they go through their day trying to act normal, so nobody will suspect that they're secretly terrified—especially on their first go around.
We call the obstetrician who tells us if it’s not a medical emergency then we can’t see them until our next appointment—which at this point is probably at least two weeks away.
By day two, that’s when we go into a full-fledged panic mode. We call every single friend or relative under the sun who has had a baby and pretty much interview them on their pregnancy, wanting to know when their baby started kicking and how often it occurred. Of course, our partners think we’re crazy by now.
So, we do what anyone would do in our shoes; we stalk every one of a thousand baby blogs and pregnancy sites. Rest assured ladies, let your worries fade away. Here are 20 ways to make the baby kick: 10 that seem dangerous and 10 more that actually are. Do you know which ones are unsafe?
20 Go Ahead: Lead Them To The Light
Per Brill Baby, a few medical experts advise against this practice for fear of unwanted side effects. There have been debates over whether the strength of the light can cause unnecessary damages to the developing baby’s eyes. But the general consensus is that it is relatively harmless and just another way to keep the baby up.
Worst case scenario, once your little one is all perked up they’ll probably commence to kicking you like they’re preparing for a kickboxing match. So, shine away moms and who knows maybe if you’re lucky—you may even get a little more shut-eye yourself from time to time after it’s all said and done.
19 Hold Up: Getting That Keepsake Ultrasound
According to Live Science, ultrasounds were created by two physicians in Europe but didn’t catch on in the states until half a century later. Portable versions of these devices can be bought to fit in the comfort of your own home for a hefty price. However, as fun as ultrasounds are to watch, they can be considered extremely dangerous.
That is if not done under the guidance of a medical professional such as an ultrasound technician and with a medically necessary reason to perform them. Research has shown that exposing the baby to too much frequency can damage the tissues of the underdeveloped baby and they have been linked to other lesser-known issues, such as autism, birth defects, and intrauterine growth restriction.
18 Go Ahead: Take Kickboxing Classes
Inside Edition reports that some women participate in kickboxing as late as the last two weeks before they give birth. The health benefits can be numerous, and some expectant mommies feel that it’s been their saving grace in staying fit and focused. Experts recommend that certain guidelines should also be followed to avoid overexertion and possible injury.
It’s a good idea to avoid sparring matches in case of an accidental slip up. Also, you may want to forego all human contact and keep it simple with a punching bag. Stretching is recommended to get those muscles all warm and fuzzy—because it’s just not fun to get a Charlie horse.
17 Hold Up: Don’t Press Too Hard
According to Live Strong, if you have an anterior placenta, which basically means that your placenta—the organ that filters nutrients for your baby during pregnancy—is located on the front side of your uterus. In a nutshell, this doesn't post too much of a risk but bleeding is more likely if a trauma is incurred on mom's abdomen.
If this area experiences too much pressure, it can cause you to suffer a miscarriage or the baby to expire before it has a chance to enter this world, as well as placental abruption. Leave the poking and pressing to the midwife or doctor.
16 Go Ahead: The Downward Dog
Per the Mayo Clinic, prenatal yoga not only gets your baby moving but can also calm him/her like the Mediterranean Sea. It can also release tension, which benefits baby because they feel mommy’s emotions during pregnancy stretch your muscles and act as a natural sleep aid for the both of you.
It also decreases nausea, reduces your back pain and trains your body to do squats, which will help you birth the baby with less effort when their birthday comes around. So, head on over to the studio and give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose.
15 Hold Up: Eating Sushi Or Raw Fish
Scientists and marine biologists have stated for decades that certain types of freshwater fish such as sushi, tilapia, swordfish, and king mackerel contain copious amounts of mercury. For mommies-to-be, that means putting your baby at risk for all types of ailments. The most prevalent and widespread ones that have the most damaging effects on the fetal growth cycle are mercury poisoning or neurotoxicity.
Per American Pregnancy, mercury levels are on the rise and can be found in all types of fish from the Gulf of Mexico. If you don’t happen to live in the coastal region, then you are strongly advised to check with the locals for safety measures. In truth, reputable sources for sushi are pretty reliable during pregnancy, but mercury is not. Using this method to get the baby to kick could actually cause harm.
14 Go Ahead: Jump For Jack
Regardless of why you like to do them, it must be by far one of the quickest ways to signal the baby to acknowledge that they’re still in there living the high life. Not surprisingly, doctors overwhelmingly advised their patients to do this exercise regimen during ultrasound appointment where the baby was either too tired after a delicious meal or it was late in the afternoon and they didn’t want to budge.
This is one of those exercises where you just got to go with the flow. It can also aid the woman’s body to become stronger as she nears delivery and the fact that you end in squatting position should make it that much easier to adjust to the birthing position.
13 Hold Up: Excessive Workouts
Many women want to be in tip-top shape during their pregnancy because not only does it make you feel better about yourself, but it helps you to have more energy as well. But some women may take this a little overboard. According to Secrets of Baby Behavior, babies are known to kick less during the last month or so of pregnancy due to having sleep cycles in utero.
Some mothers—in rare instances—may mistakenly think that the numbers on the scale have something to do with the slow down in movement. That isn’t the case. A pregnant woman should aim to gain at least 25 to 45 pounds for a healthy pregnancy. Eat up!
12 Go Ahead: Oh, The Taste Of A Latte
Physicians have differences of opinion on this one depending on what side of the spectrum they fall on. According to the Journal of the Canadian Family Physician, some doctor’s claim caffeine should only be consumed in moderation. By that standard, it’s perfectly fine for an expectant mother to consume caffeine in limited amounts if it doesn’t go past 200 mg per day, though studies show it's riskier in the first trimester.
According to European researchers at Star2, only about 3 percent of pregnant women knowingly consume excess amounts of caffeine and another 44 percent straddled the line. The consensus seems to indicate that you can drink until your heart's content.
Assuming that you don’t go over 300mg per day maximum, you can safely avoid the risk of miscarriage. Caffeine gives us all a little kick, right?
11 Hold Up: Nix The Bad Habits
While most women in the world may think that this one is utterly ridiculous since there is no way that they would want to expose their fetus to such things, we have to consider that there is a significant part of the population that suffers from substance dependency.
The range of illegal substances and legal prescription medications varies, but they all carry risks. According to March Of Dimes, statistics show that at least one in 20 women indulges in some substances at some point during or over the course of their pregnancy. The side effects can range from low birth weight, neurological issues to even death.
10 Go Ahead: Eating Spicy Foods
Did you know that most of what baby consumes is from the umbilical cord and that also means that the amniotic fluids contain flavors such as bitter and sour that are passed onto the baby? It’s kind of like eating a steak soaked in your favorite Au Jus sauce and sopping up all the flavor.
According to Live Well, spicy foods may make you feel nauseous and give you a little heartburn or indigestion. Some superstitions say that means your child will be blessed with a head full of hair at birth. All in all, they’re safe and the flavors will give the baby a little kick in their gestational entrée, as well as a little kick in your tummy.
9 Hold Up: Horseback Riding
My Pregnancy Baby says that as much as you enjoy riding, the sheer force of gravity that you endure while bumping up and down at upwards of seventy miles per hour can increase the risk of placental abruption—which can mean the beneficial organ that feeds the baby comes ripping apart from your body and can, unfortunately, cause you to bleed like a fountain.
It also contributes to loss of balance, especially if the horse gets angry during their trot and decided to stand up for a few seconds in anger and drop back onto the ground with the force of a boulder hitting the ground.
8 Go Ahead: Bedroom Fun
Baby Center says as nature and gravity would have it the same way the baby goes in is the same way the baby comes out. Some folks have reported they don’t quite seem to get that just because you put them there doesn’t mean that if you put ‘er there that’s it’s going to have the force of a hurricane and damage what mother nature has put together.
But just as you figure that one out, the baby perks up out of the blue and starts wondering what in the roller coaster heaven is going on out there.
7 Hold Up: Artificial Sweeteners Aren't So Safe
According to Consumer Health Digest, Nutrasweet can cause symptoms such as headaches and migraines. In modest amounts, they are considered relatively safe for consumption during pregnancy by some professionals.
However, studies show they are linked to birth defects and developmental disorders, per the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In addition, if you have an intolerance to carbohydrates, then be sure to limit your intake to minuscule amounts to keep on the safe side. If you’re not keen on the risks, we’ve got you covered.
Raw Stevia is thought to be the safest artificial sweetener on the market and has not been linked to the defects and disorders others like sucralose and aspartame are. However, it can cause an excess of amniotic fluid, which may necessitate induction and can cause other risks for the baby.
6 Go Ahead: Dance It Out
Not only will you enjoy all the moving and grooving that get your juices flowing, the baby may get as much of a kick out of it and even discover their love for music. According to the docs over at Baby Center, dancing is considered another one of those healthy exercises at the top of the list to keep that belly in shape.
Especially if you’re a belly dancer in training, give baby a taste of the wiggle fever. Even with the feeling of additional pounds of pregnancy weight, any pregnant woman still got it! Just be careful to stay well hydrated to avoid dehydration.
5 Hold Up: Laying On Your Belly
There’s one thing to do some yoga poses or take part in some calisthenics to keep your body in shape. However, the poses that we choose to do should be carefully considered as not to cause harm to our unborn child. According to Healthtap, some people believe that it’s perfectly okay to lay on your belly as the pressure will encourage the baby to move around.
However, doing so greatly increases the potential for baby to be smooshed up, the placenta to tear or severe injury to the baby. So, being on your belly is just one of those things you will have to miss until the baby comes. Of course, then you'll be nursing and have a whole new "set" of problems with belly-sleeping.
4 Go Ahead: Hike A Mountain Or Two
If you can stick it out, you can have an exhilarating experience and a great work out for the day. Now, we’re not talking hiring a sherpa and scaling Mount Everest but this one’s worth a try. According to My Northwest, Jennifer Pharr broke a record for hiking the Appalachians in 46 days.
Just keep in mind that what goes up must come down, and if you think you’re full of energy post-hike—baby’s going to be super pumped. So, go ahead, throw on your favorite tennis shoes, grab those headphones, grab a smoothie, and get down to business.
3 Hold Up: Safe Prescriptions Only
There is no shortage of coverage in the news on substance abuse epidemics, and it's not always at the result of things women find on the streets. Sometimes, it's their doctor who dishes out "medicine" that makes them feel like it must be safe. According to NPR, a majority of women living in areas such as West Virginia along the trail of the Appalachian mountains struggle with dependency on narcotics.
Almost all physicians will refrain from prescribing these medications to expecting mothers, but unfortunately—there are some who will put profit over their expectant patient's wellbeing. Sadly, some of these mothers believe that they are helping their babies by scratching their itch. The damaging effects are irreversible and can lead to serious defects, developmental delays and worse for baby.
2 Go Ahead: Try Acupuncture
According to Mom Junction, acupuncture is one of the most minimally invasive procedures that you can experience and carries with it a lot of benefits. Many mothers have noticed a noticeable relief in pelvic pain, back pain and nausea. As for side effects, they are reportedly no different than women who undergo treatment and are not expecting—such as mild cases of fatigue, or minor pain, bruising, and bleeding at the needle site.
The process can stimulate the release of hormones and endorphins in the body that just might get baby moving. So, go ahead ladies, wax on, wax off and see what the Asian persuasion can do for you and sleepy baby.
1 Hold Up: Water, Please
Sure, for those of you who partake in an occasional adult beverage with a buddy from college, you’ll notice that it will give you a sense of euphoria, boost your energy and liven you up a bit. But, studies prove we shouldn't use it as the same thing when trying to stimulate our babies. There is some research that says those fermented grapes are safe in moderation, according to Scientific American.
But, the general consensus is that those libations should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy due to the increased likelihood of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other birth defects. This has been known to cause such conditions as brain damage and growth problems, per Very Well Family.
References: Brill Baby, Mom Junction, My Northwest, Live Science, NCBI: Canadian Family Physician, Star2, Inside Edition, Consumer Health Digest, EJCN, Live Well, American Pregnancy Association, My pregnancy baby, Live Strong, Mayo Clinic, How To Adult,Secrets Of Baby Behavior, Baby Center, March Of Dimes, Scientific American, NPR, Healthboards, Healthtap, Very Well Family