Why It’s Important to Count the Kicks
Congrats on your little kicker! Did you know that kick counting is an easy, free, and reliable way to check on your baby’s well-being in the third trimester of pregnancy? Count the Kicks is an evidence-based campaign that teaches expectant parents how to track their baby’s movements in the third trimester. It’s easy to do using the free Count the Kicks app or by printing a paper chart.
Warning: This blog discusses the topic of stillbirth
Why We Count
Stillbirth is defined as the loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks gestation, and according to the CDC, each year 23,500 babies are born still in the U.S. That means 1 in every 169 pregnancies ends in stillbirth, making it 10 times more common than SIDS. According to the CDC, a Black woman is more than twice as likely to lose her baby to stillbirth (1 in 96 pregnancies) than her white neighbor, colleague, or friend. Research shows a change in a baby’s movements could be the earliest, and sometimes only sign that there might be an issue with a pregnancy, and is an indication that the baby should be checked by your provider. Just like when you’re not feeling well, you may want to sit around or lie in bed — a baby will also move differently. If they’re not feeling well, their movement changes, which is why it’s important to track their movement daily in the third trimester.
How do I Count the Kicks? Starting at 28 weeks (or 26 weeks if you’re high-risk), download the free Count the Kicks app or print out a paper chart, then sit with your feet up or lie on your side. Each day around the same time, count each of your baby’s movements (kicks, jabs, pokes, and rolls) as one kick and tap the foot on the app until you reach 10 movements. The only movements that don’t count are hiccups, as those are involuntary. After a few days of tracking, you’ll begin to see an average length of time it takes your baby to get to 10 movements.
Watch this video to learn more about how to Count the Kicks.
What is considered normal?
Every baby is different, so it’s important to get to know the average amount of time it takes your baby to get to 10 movements. You can do this by counting kicks around the same time every day in the third trimester of pregnancy. Try to pick a time when your baby is normally active.
When should I contact my provider?
If you notice a change in your baby’s movement, whether a decrease or rapid increase, you should contact your provider right away or go directly to the hospital. It’s also important to pay attention to the strength of your baby’s movements and notify your provider if your baby’s movements become weaker.
What are the benefits of kick counting?
Counting kicks is a great way to bond with your baby, even for partners and siblings! The Count the Kicks app (available in 12+ languages) features easy-to-read graphs that show your baby’s normal movement history and daily reminders, so you never forget to count your baby’s kicks. You can track movements for single babies and twins, and the app even allows you to download your sessions to text or email directly to your provider. Count the Kicks app users report that using the app regularly helped them feel less anxious and more bonded with their baby.
Advice on Speaking Up
During your prenatal appointments, be sure to ask your provider how to contact them if you have concerns and when you should go directly to the hospital. If your provider doesn’t talk to you about fetal movement, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s OK to bring up Count the Kicks with your provider and ask to show them your kick counting data.
Count the Kicks is on a mission to make kick counting a common practice for ALL expectant parents in the third trimester of pregnancy. Visit the app store to download the FREE Count the Kicks app today so you can start getting to know what’s normal for your baby! Congrats, and remember: Every kick counts!
Visit www.CountTheKicks.org to learn more.
- All data comes from CDC Wonder: https://wonder.cdc.gov/
- Pruitt SM, Hoyert DL, Anderson KN, Martin J, Waddell L, Duke C, Honein MA, Reefhuis J. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Fetal Deaths — United States, 2015–2017.
- MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1277-1282.
- Bryant J, Jamil RT, Thistle J. Fetal Movement. [Updated 2020 Nov 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470566/
- Based on an analysis from the Count the Kicks app Finish Pregnancy survey.