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Kick Count

Kick Counts

Kicking and fussing is how your baby lets you know it’s “OK”. Uncomfortable at times but reassuring, it means your baby is active and growing.

In a survey conducted among stillbirth mothers, we discovered that 67% weren’t ever told by their OB about the importance of monitoring kick counts. If you’ve not been told, or if it’s not been properly explained, raise the question at your next checkup. It’s your body and your baby, so don’t ever hesitate to voice your concerns. Counting kicks is a simple test to monitor your baby’s wellbeing that costs nothing.

You can track your baby’s activity by using a written log of its kick counts. If you detect a change, or an unusual increase in your baby’s level of activity, it may mean you baby is in distress. Should either occur, call your doctor at once. If you can’t reach your doctor, head to the hospital to have your baby checked. A “false alarm” is still a better option.


Before starting your baby’s activity log, be aware that there’s no single “standard” for the number of kicks to expect, but on average you should detect five or more movements per hour. Babies sleep, and there may be times in the day when you feel little or no movement. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your baby’s daily activity pattern and any changes. In time you’ll recognize your baby’s pattern.

Measuring Kick Counts

Every day at the same time, preferably just after you’ve eaten, take time to be aware of your baby’s movements. You needn’t stop what you are doing, just be aware and count each movement as you detect it. If you haven’t felt at least 4 or 5 movements by the end of an hour, you’ll want to redo the count, this time lying down on your side and focusing on just counting movements. We call them “kicks”, but punches, rolls and swooshes count, as long as it’s a definite movement. You will hear that babies slow down as they get closer to full term. Whether that’s true is debatable, but if your baby slows down, the change should not be sudden. A sudden change is trouble.

If you still don’t detect 10 movements within 2 hours call your doctor. From a practical standpoint, it’s always easier to be seen and have your baby checked during office hours, but don’t let the time of day stop you. If you detect a decline in movement, or sense your baby is “hyperactive”, call no matter what the time. We’ve all been taught to be considerate of others, but this is a different situation. Doctors, like firemen, chose a 24-hour occupation. You’ve chosen to become a mother. As a mother your job is to protect the life you are carrying. Pick up the phone and call at once. The next morning could be too late.

To help you keep track of your baby’s kicks, an empty log is available for download by clicking the button below.

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