Fetal Movement Counting or Kick Counts

Fetal Movement Counting or Kick Counts

One of the best ways to be reassured that your baby is feeling well is to keep track of its movements.

What is fetal movement or kick counts?

Fetal movement is when your baby moves. Healthy babies are active and move often every day. Your baby will have both quiet times when sleeping and more active times when awake. You may notice that your baby is more active after you eat or do light activity. Many babies tend to be more active in the evening.

Why is it important to pay attention to your baby’s movement?

It is important to pay attention to your baby’s movements every day, so that you become aware of what is normal for your baby and also of anything that feels different. Babies who are having problems may be sluggish and move less.

What should you look for?

If your baby is active and you are feeling a normal amount of movement throughout the day, there is no need to count movements unless instructed by your midwife or doctor. However, if you feel that the baby is moving less than he or she normally does, or if your OB provider has advised you to do so, the instructions below tell you how to do “kick counts”. They can help you and your midwife or doctor to know that your baby is feeling well.

  • You may count any time of the day, when you feel the baby is most active. For most women, this will be after eating a meal. Have something cold to drink. Sit or lie down someplace quiet. Put your hands on your belly over your baby and pay attention only to the baby’s movements. Write down the time that you start counting.
  • Count 10 separate times that the baby moves. A movement may be a kick, turn, stretch, twist, swish, roll, jab or a flip of the baby. Hiccups do not count as movements.
  • Write down the time you feel the 10th movement. If you count 10 movements in less than two hours, stop counting until tomorrow.

What to do if you don’t feel any movement or your baby’s movement slows down?

If your baby is not moving at all, or if it moves less than 10 times in 2 hours, call our Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic.