Fetal Movement Counting
What is fetal movement counting?Fetal movement counting, often called kick counting, is a way a mother can help monitor the movements of her unborn baby by counting the number of kicks in a certain time period.
By 20 weeks gestation, most women are able to feel their baby's movements. But, movements vary in frequency, strength, and patterns depending on the maturity of the fetus. Generally, most fetuses have circadian (biologically timed) activity rhythms and tend to be more active in the late afternoon and evening hours, beginning as early as the second trimester.
Fetal movement is one indicator of fetal health. Contrary to a common myth, it is not normal for a fetus to stop moving with the onset of labor. Although the average number of kicks is about four to six per hour, each fetus and mother are different. Each woman should find the usual pattern and number of movements for her individual pregnancy. A change in the normal pattern or number of fetal movements may indicate the fetus is under stress.
How is fetal movement counting done?Consult your physician about the importance fetal movement counting for your individual pregnancy, and the type of counting to be done. There are several ways to do this. Set aside the same time each day to do the counting. After a meal is often a good time. The "count-to-10" method is easy to remember and simple to perform. Time how long it takes your fetus to move 10 times. This should be within one hour, and for many fetuses, the time is much shorter.
If your baby takes longer than one hour to make 10 movements, call your physician right away. Other testing can be done to check the condition of the fetus, such as the NST.
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.