Kick counting is the daily systematic recording of a mom’s perception of her baby’s movement during the third trimester and is a reliable, simple and effective way to monitor a baby’s well-being. Kick counting can document changes in the fetal movement pattern and can help moms-to-be notify their healthcare provider of potential problems.
Fetal movement is an important sign of a baby’s health. Studies have shown that decreased fetal movements are associated with pregnancy complications, including growth problems, preterm birth and stillbirth. The use of kick count charts help decrease the risk of stillbirth by reducing the delay in intervention.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that expectant mothers note the time it takes for their baby to complete ten movements, at approximately the same time each day when the baby is usually most active. Movements include kicks, turns, twists, swishes, jabs and rolls, but exclude hiccups. The understanding that babies have sleep cycles, when they are less active, can alleviate anxieties associated with kick counting.
In general, healthy babies should complete ten movements within two hours and most babies achieve ten movements in less than 15 minutes. Moms should alert their healthcare provider immediately if the baby’s normal pattern changes or if the baby takes more than two hours to complete ten movements.
– Diep Nguyen MD