Why do I need to count?
Counting your baby’s movements can help you and your physician gauge your baby’s health. A healthy, growing baby will move frequently. You may not notice this when you’re busy, but you should be able to feel your baby’s movements at other times.
Our physicians recommend that all women begin counting fetal movements at the 28th week of pregnancy. Women with high-risk pregnancies or with pregnancy complications are especially encouraged to count.
How do I count?
Choose a convenient time to count, at a time when your baby tends to be active. Many women find that their babies are more active after a meal, after light physical activity, and in the evening. Try to count at roughly the same time each day. This will help you get a sense of your baby’s usual patterns of activity.
- Each day at the chosen time, lie on your side or sit in a comfortable chair. The best place to start your “kick counts” is a quiet room without distractions. Have a pen and paper handy.
- Write down the time you feel the first of your baby’s movements and make a mark for each movement you feel after that. Count each twist, turn, flutter, swish, kick and elbow you feel. Do not count hiccups. Continue counting until you’ve marked six movements. Record the time of the sixth movement. You can also find many apps for your smartphone that may help you record these “kick count” sessions.
- If you don’t feel at least 6 movements in one hour, continue to count movements for the next hour. If you do not have at least 10 movements in these two hours of monitoring, you need to go directly to labor and delivery for evaluation.
Things to keep in mind:
- It may take only a few minutes for you to count 6 movements. This is normal and you can stop counting when you reach the target number.
- A sleeping baby may move less. If your baby seems to be sleeping or having a slow day, try going for a 5-minute walk.
- As you continue with daily counting, you may notice patterns in your baby’s level of activity. Pay attention to these. A change in your baby’s usual activity may alert you to a possible concern.
- Go to Labor and Delivery if you don’t count 10 movements in 2 hours.
- Call the office if you think your baby is moving less than usual – for example, your baby is only half as active as usual or you feel something isn’t right.
For an easy kick count chart click HERE.