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A game parents-to-be can play with their unborn child.

From about 17 weeks into a pregnancy (or thereabouts), we could feel (me from the outside, my wife from both the inside and outside) the foetus kicking, pushing, and generally moving around. We started wondering what it was doing, each time it moved. Was it trying to get comfortable? Was it trying to communicate with us in Morse code?

From there, it was a short step to imbuing it with a personality, and imagining that it is aware of the outside world. And then it was an even shorter step to developing the game of Push-Push.

Rules of Push-Push
  1. Push gently at a protruding part of baby through the skin of a pregnant tummy
  2. Wait until baby kicks or pushes back. (This may take some time!)
  3. Exclaim "Push-Push!" in a besotted new-parent-to-be voice. (Both parents may join in!)
  4. Imagine that your developing baby is somehow aware of the loving bond you feel growing with it.
  5. Repeat.

For an amusing twist on the above rules, follow the Impromptu Variation (so called because, unlike the original game, you can't predict when you're going to play it):

  1. With for the baby to poke or kick through its mother's expanding tummy.
  2. Push back.
  3. Carry on as from rule (3) in the original game

Push-Push is most fun to play between weeks 22-32 of the pregnancy, when the foetus has enough room to manoeuvre itself into a good playing position, and is strong enough to vary its kicks unpredictably. (Not knowing where it is going to kick adds a little spice to the game!)

Beyond week 32 the baby is growing increasingly large, and has less space to move around in. If it appears not to respond to Push-Push as eagerly as it used to, don't worry! It's not because it loves you any less, it's just because it is getting quite cramped in there. Stroke the pregnant tummy gently, with a little pressure to simulate massage. Comfort your unborn child with some soothing music. Whisper "Push-Push" in an enchanted voice to remind it of all the time you've already shared, and in anticipation of the wonderful moments you will have together in the future.

sunpig has omitted one of the best parts of push-push: training your baby to hinder the medical profession.

If the foetus gets the idea that a push in should be followed by a push out, then prenatal visits to the doctor or midwife become much more amusing.

Picture the scene.
  • The midwife, in execution of her duty, kneads the mother's tummy to determine the size, position and state of the baby.
  • The baby sees this as a declaration of push-push, and kicks back, shifting position and confusing any diagnostic attempts.
  • Repeat until the midwife gives up.

Even more fun, push-push with a Doppler microphone (used for listening to the heartbeat) can make some loud and interesting noises. It also causes the foetus to move, so the heartbeat isn't audible any more. The midwife then gets to try the microphone in another position, starting another round of the baby's favourite game. This can go on for an entire prenatal visit.

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