Frequently Asked Questions about Count the Kicks
(click on your language to download a PDF about Count the Kicks)
What is Count the Kicks?
Count the Kicks is a stillbirth prevention program that helps expectant parents get to know their baby’s normal movement patterns during the third trimester of pregnancy. A change in a baby’s movements could be a red flag for a serious issue developing in pregnancy. Count the Kicks encourages expectant parents to contact their healthcare provider right away if there is a change in what’s normal for their baby.
Why is it important to count baby movements?
Research shows a change in a baby’s movement in the third trimester is sometimes the earliest or only sign of distress. By counting your baby’s movements every day, you will get to know what is normal for your baby and be more alert to potential red flags. We frequently hear from families whose babies were saved because they noticed a change in their baby’s movement pattern and alerted their healthcare provider.
How do I get to know my baby’s movement patterns?
- Begin counting in the third trimester, which is at 28 weeks, or 26 weeks if you are high-risk or pregnant with multiples.
- Download the free app or use a paper movement monitoring chart [download here].
- Count your baby’s movements every day – preferably at the same time. Try to pick a time when your baby is usually active.
- To get started, sit with your feet up or lie on your side. Count each of your baby’s movements by tapping the foot on our app until you reach 10 movements. Count kicks, jabs, pokes, rolls, or swishes – but not hiccups, as those are involuntary. The app will time how long it takes your baby to get to 10 movements.
- After your baby reaches 10 movements, rate the strength of your baby’s movements, with 1 being fluttery and 5 being fierce.
- After a few days, you will begin to see an average length of time it takes your baby to get to 10 movements.
- Call your provider right away if you notice a change in the strength of your baby’s movements or how long it takes your baby to get to 10 movements. If you can’t reach your provider, go to the nearest hospital.
- Create an account by registering on the app to save your kick-counting sessions and see your baby’s movement history over time.
- If you do not wish to create an account, you can still count kicks via the ‘Start Counting’ option on the main menu. However, the app will only show the five most recent sessions and not save your full counting history. If you register after counting for several days you may lose some data – it’s highly recommended to register as soon as you start using the app.
- Your kick counting history can be shared directly with your provider by downloading your data and can be a useful topic to discuss during visits with your provider.
- Keep counting every day!
What are the other benefits of Count The Kicks?
Counting your baby’s movements helps you bond with your baby. Taking time to Count the Kicks provides a special time for you to focus on your baby’s movements and personality. It is also a good time for your partner and older children to share this experience with you and bond with the baby.
Count the Kicks also gives you the peace of mind to know when your baby is moving like normal. In a survey of Count the Kicks app users, 77% said regular use of the app helped reduce their anxiety about the well-being of their baby.
What languages is the Count the Kicks app available in?
The FREE Count the Kicks app is available in 20+ languages: Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Mandarin Chinese, Dari, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Marshallese, Mongolian, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese.
Is stillbirth really still a concern in the U.S.?
Sadly, yes. Stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby during pregnancy at 20 weeks or greater gestation. Across the U.S., an average of more than 21,000 babies are lost to stillbirth every year. Statistically, that means 1 out of every 175 pregnancies ends in stillbirth, and around 60 families endure the tragedy of stillbirth every day.
Racial disparities persist, and a disproportionate number of babies are born still to Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Black, and American Indian or Alaska Native families. Count the Kicks is committed to preventing stillbirth and reducing racial disparities by using data to drive our strategy and inform our decision making. Our ultimate goal is to make meaningful, sustainable, and systemic change that will lead to a world where the impacts of racism, discrimination, socioeconomic status, and access to healthcare are no longer predictors of stillbirth.
Is stillbirth preventable?
Research shows at least 1 in 4 stillbirths can be preventable. Research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology proves the effectiveness of Count the Kicks as a method for stillbirth prevention. In the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks program in Iowa, the stillbirth rate in the state dropped nearly 32% (2008-2018). If this success is replicated in all 50 states, more than 7,500 babies will be saved every year!
My baby is always active. Why should I take time to Count the Kicks?
Active babies can also experience distress, sometimes quickly and without other warning signs. Monitoring your baby’s movement every day takes the guesswork out of knowing if your normally active baby has slowed down. Count the Kicks gives you real data to show your healthcare provider if you ever have a concern. [Source]
Why do I need to Count the Kicks? I’m past the first trimester, I should be out the danger zone.
Stillbirth is still happening even in healthy, low-risk pregnancies. According to the CDC, one out of every 175 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Black and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander pregnancies have a 1 in 101 chance of ending in stillbirth.
Of mothers who have lost a baby to stillbirth in the third trimester, 50% reported a perceived gradual decline in fetal movement several days prior to the death of their baby. A change in movement can also be a warning sign of other problems. The sooner you seek care, the sooner you and your baby can be checked and given the right care. This could save you or your baby’s life.
Why do I need to Count the Kicks when I can hear his or her heartbeat with a Doppler device?
A change of the baby’s heartbeat is one of the last things that occurs when a baby is in distress. A change in a baby’s movement may indicate potential problems before actual changes in the heart rate are detected. Expectant parents should only use a Doppler device under the guidance of a healthcare provider. [Source]
At what point in my pregnancy do I start Count the Kicks?
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends you begin counting movements in your 28th week, or at 26 weeks if you are high-risk or pregnant with multiples. [Source]
What is considered normal?
Every baby and every pregnancy are different. Knowing the average amount of time it takes your baby to get to 10 movements is key. Notify your provider immediately if there is a change in what’s normal for your baby. If you can’t reach your provider, go to the nearest hospital.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
Call your provider right away if you notice a change in strength of movements or how long it takes your baby to get to 10 movements. This could be a sign of potential problems.
Do not wait if there are significant changes in your baby’s movements, or no movement at all.
When in doubt, contact your provider! Do not worry about “bothering” them. It is their job to take care of you and your baby. If you can’t reach your provider, go to the nearest hospital.
Do babies kick less or run out of room near the end of pregnancy?
NO! Babies DO NOT kick less or run out of room at the end of pregnancy. Toward the end of pregnancy the types of movements you feel may change (more jabs, fewer rolls), but your baby should continue to follow the same movement patterns up to and even during labor.
If you are monitoring your baby’s movements at the same time each day, it should take about the same amount of time to feel 10 movements. Call your healthcare provider right away if you notice a change in your baby’s movement patterns. If you can’t reach your provider, go to the nearest hospital. [Source]
What should I do if I can’t feel my baby move?
Do not wait if there are noticeable changes in your baby’s movements, or no movement at all. Go to the hospital immediately! They are available 24/7 for you and your baby to get checked. If you feel concerned, don’t put off getting checked until the next day or wait until your next scheduled appointment. Trust your intuition. Trust the data. Don’t wait.
Should I drink something cold or eat something sugary to get my baby moving?
No. Research has moved away from the idea that sugary drinks and the like are a good way to get a baby to move. Your baby’s movement is best monitored without interventions like juice, candy, ice water, etc. Call your provider if your baby isn’t moving like normal. If you can’t reach your provider, go to the nearest hospital. [Source]
Can I Count the Kicks if I have an anterior placenta?
Yes! In a pregnancy with an anterior placenta (when the placenta sits between the front of your uterus and your baby) it may take a little longer (in weeks) before you feel the baby’s movement compared to a pregnancy without an anterior placenta. Research shows that fetal movement counting times are similar to other placental locations from 24 weeks gestation and on. We recommend sitting or lying down in a comfortable position and taking time to really focus on your baby’s movement while using the FREE Count the Kicks app. For additional advice on monitoring movement with an anterior placenta, talk with your provider.
As always, it is important to monitor your baby’s movements daily in the third trimester and speak up if you notice a change in the strength of your baby’s movements or how long it takes your baby to get to 10 movements. [Source]
Can I Count the Kicks if I am expecting twins or multiples?
Yes! If you’re expecting twins or multiples, the recommendation is to start counting daily at 26 weeks. The FREE Count the Kicks app allows you to count for one baby or two! When you open the app, it will ask how many babies you are counting for. You will select two, then add your babies’ names/nicknames and hit save. Read our blog for more information on counting for twins.