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Kick Counts In Pregnancy


Kick counts measure how much your baby is moving in your womb. A kick from your baby can be felt as a twist, turn, swish, roll, or jab. It is common to feel your baby kicking at 26 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. You may feel your baby kick as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel your baby kick less as the day goes on.
  • You do not feel any kicks in a day.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel a change in the number of kicks or movements of your baby.
  • You feel fewer than 10 kicks within 2 hours after counting twice.
  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's movements.

Why measure kick counts:

Your baby's movement may provide information about your baby's health. He may move less, or not at all, if there are problems. He may move less if he does not have enough room to grow in your uterus (womb). He may also move less if he is not getting enough oxygen or nutrition from the placenta. Tell your healthcare provider as soon as you feel a change in your baby's movements. Problems that are found earlier are easier to treat.

When to measure kick counts:

  • Measure kick counts at the same time every day.
  • Measure kick counts when your baby is awake and most active. Your baby may be most active in the evening.
  • Measure kick counts after a meal or snack. Your baby may be more active after you eat. Wait 2 hours after you drink liquids that contain caffeine. Caffeine can make your baby more active than usual.
  • You should not smoke while you are pregnant. Smoking increases the risk of health problems for you and for your baby during your pregnancy. If you do smoke, wait 2 hours to measure kick counts. Nicotine can make your baby more active than usual.

How to measure kick counts:

Check that your baby is awake before you measure kick counts. You can wake up your baby by lightly pushing on your belly, walking, or drinking something cold. Your healthcare provider may tell you different ways to measure kick counts. He may tell you to do the following:

  • Use a chart or clock to keep track of the time you start and finish counting.
  • Sit in a chair or lie on your left side.
  • Place your hands on the largest part of your belly.
  • Count until you reach 10 kicks. Write down how much time it takes to count 10 kicks.
  • It may take 30 minutes to 2 hours to count 10 kicks. It should not take more than 2 hours to count 10 kicks.
  • If you do not feel 10 kicks within 2 hours, wait 1 hour and count again. Your baby can sleep for up to 40 minutes at one time.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.