Baby movement - kick counts

Between weeks 26 and 28 if you are high risk or pregnant with multiples the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends you begin daily fetal kick counts. Call your doctor if you notice a significant decrease in your baby's movement patterns.

How to keep a "kick count:"

  1. Choose a time of day or evening when your baby seems to be most active. Perform every kick count at about the same time each day.

  2. Lie down on your side, and watch and feel your baby's movements.

  3. The first time you feel your baby move, check your watch and write the time down. Then count every movement or kick until your baby has moved ten times. When you feel the tenth movement, write down the time again. After repeating the process for several days, you may find the baby usually moves about the same number of times per hour; this becomes your baseline number.

  4. If no movements are felt within 1 hour, or if the movements total less than half the number of your baseline, contact your health care provider immediately.

While monitoring fetal movement can be a helpful guide to fetal health, it is not the only way. As long as your baby has good fetal heart tones with each visit to your doctor, and your doctor is satisfied with the progressive increase in the size of your uterus, or fundal height, you can rest easy that all's well.

Sources: Obstetrics and Gynecology 77 (1991): 889-92; Fetal Diagnosis and Therapeutics 5 (1990): 15-32