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How often should I feel my baby move during pregnancy?

Fetal movement counting in pregnancy is an important way to monitor your baby's health. After you are about 28 weeks along, it's recommended that you monitor fetal kick counts on a daily basis. You should feel the baby move at least two different times during a day, on a daily basis. The baby may move many more times than that. During one of these episodes of movement, you should feel the baby move at least ten times in an hour. You don't need to feel the baby move ten times every hour, but there should be at least one time during the day where you feel the baby move ten times in the hour. If that doesn't happen, it's important you lie down, drink something sweet, and see if the baby will move ten times in the subsequent hour. If you drink something sweet, then that gets through your bloodstream to the baby and stirs the baby up a little bit.

Most healthy babies should take less than two hours for 10 kicks. Every baby is different. Keeping track of your daily kick counting sessions will help you know what is "normal" for your baby. Notify your provider immediately if your baby has not moved 10 times in two hours or if there have been significant changes. Use a Count the Kicks Chart or download the Count the Kicks! app for easy charting and tracking of your baby’s movements.

Dr. Darria Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

Babies actually start to move as early as 7 to 8 weeks gestation, although mom usually doesn’t feel it until the 2nd trimester, around 16 to 20 weeks. First-time moms may first notice it later than week 20, while others who have had prior pregnancies may feel it earlier, possibly because they recognize the feeling.

Babies can be very active—bending, kicking, hiccuping, spinning around and even stretching. Their activity tends to increase throughout the day and peaks late at night.

If you’re in the 3rd trimester and you want to check, monitor your baby’s movements for two hours while lying on your side. Most healthy babies will have at least 10 kicks over two hours during normal active times.

Every baby is unique, though, so there isn’t one number that works for all pregnancies.

So, no matter the number, if you experience a decrease in movement compared to whatever is usually normal for your baby, you should call your doctor.

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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.