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How should I count my baby's kicks during pregnancy?

Ms. Kathryne A. LeMieux
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Specialist

Lie down in a quite spot after a meal and put both hands on your tummy. Count the number of kicks or movements you feel for one hour. You should feel at least 10 kicks in 1 hour if your baby is healthy and moving normally. If you don't feel your baby move—contact your doctor for follow up as soon as possible.

Try to do your kick count about the same time every day. Pick a time of day when you know your baby is active. The best time is after you eat a snack or meal. Sit in a chair with your feet up or lay down on your side. Make sure your baby is awake. If you are not sure, try pushing on your tummy. Walking around or drinking something cold can help too. Use a chart to write down the time you start counting. Count each movement as one kick. Kicks can be twists, turns, swishes, rolls and jabs. Count until you reach 10 kicks. Write down the number of minutes it took to count 10 kicks. It will take most moms less than 30 minutes, but it can take as long as two hours. After a week or two, you will see that the kicking varies from day to day, but for the most part the days seem similar. This will continue to be the case for a healthy baby.

It might be helpful to know that very rarely does a baby kick less than 10 times during a two-hour period. It is also important to note that all babies have regular sleep/wake cycles and your baby will sleep many times a day. However, even near the end of pregnancy, most babies do not sleep for longer than one hour at a time.

Here's how to count your baby's kicks during pregnancy:

  • Count the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. A movement includes kicks, rolls, jabs, twists, turns and switches. Hiccups are not considered a movement. Your baby should move 10 times in less than two hours. Count the kicks every day, preferably at the same time.
  • Pick your time based on when your baby is usually active, such as after you've had a snack or meal.
  • Make sure that your baby is awake first; walking, pushing on your tummy or having a cold drink are good wake-up calls. 
  • To get started, sit with your feet up or lie on your side. Count each of your baby's movements as one kick, and count until you reach 10 kicks or movements.
  • Most of the time it will take less than a half hour, but it could take as long as two hours.
  • Log your recorded times into a Count the Kicks chart or download the Count the Kicks! app.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.