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Kick Counts in Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about kick counts?

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. You may want to start counting at 28 weeks.

Why should I measure kick counts?

Your baby's movement may provide information about your baby's health. He or she may move less, or not at all, if there are problems. Your baby may move less if he or she is not getting enough oxygen or nutrition from the placenta. Do not smoke while you are pregnant. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help to quit smoking. Tell your healthcare provider as soon as you feel a change in your baby's movements.

When do I 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.

How do I 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. You may be told 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.

When should I contact my doctor?

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.