Awareness of your baby’s movement is an important and non-invasive assessment of fetal well-being. Basically, activity is reassuring and decrease or cessation is worrisome. “Kick count” is the counting and tracking of fetal movement – kicks, flutters, swishes, jabs or rolls. Mothers learn normal patterns for their baby such as sleep cycles, times of activity and triggers. It’s also a way to bond and connect.
If you’ve been busy or are unsure about movement relax and have a meal, a small glass of juice or some fruit. Palpate your baby to induce movement. Pay attention to the movements. Babies sleep. If your blood sugar is low then so is your baby’s. You should feel at least 10 movements over 2 hours (it usually takes much less time), and at least one movement in the first hour.
Keeping a journal of kick counts beginning at 28 weeks provides valuable information.
- Be properly hydrated and fed.
- Ideally start the kick count at about the same time daily; think of it as a baby-date.
- Rest when you do the kick counts, by sitting or lying on your left side.
- Note the date, start time and the time at which the 10th movement takes place.
- Calculate the total time for 10 movements.
- Keep notes in the same place to see patterns emerge. Any method works. Below is an example of a chart and one of a log.
Contact your midwife, doctor, or go to the birth unit at your local hospital immediately if:
- You have followed the recommendations above and have not felt 10 kicks in 2 hours.
- There’s a significant change in the pattern over the 3 to 4 days.
- Your baby has a significant or sudden change in movements.
- You have concerns.
Example of a Kick Counts Log
Note the date/week of gestation, and start time. Count or jot down a √ or x for 10 movements. Note the finish time, and total time. Keep an eye on patters with the total time.
Mon 9:00 XXXXXXXXXX 9:32 Total: 32 min
Tues 12:00 XXXXXXXXXX 12:45 Total: 45 min
Wed 9:00 XXXXXXXXXX 9:55 Total: 55 min
Thurs 9:00 XXXXXXXXXX 9:45 Total: 45 min
Fri 9:30 XXXXXXXXXX 10:05 Total: 35 min
Sat 9:15 XXXXXXXXXX 10:05 Total: 50 min
Sun 10:00 XXXXXXXXXX 14:15 Total: 4 hr, 15 min
Note the significant change in total time. In this case you would seek medical attention on Sunday.
Kick Count- Blank Tracking Sheet (pdf)
Kick Count Chart – example (pdf)