Frequently Asked Questions about Count the Kicks

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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. 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 kicks?

Counting your baby’s movements (kicks, jabs, pokes, swishes, and rolls) is important because a change in movement in the third trimester is often the earliest or only sign of distress in a baby. When expectant parents know what is normal for their baby, they are 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.

Is stillbirth really still a concern in the U.S.?

Unfortunately, yes. Across the U.S., an average of 21,745 babies are lost to stillbirth every year. Statistically, that means 1 out of every 175 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. For Black moms, that number is even more alarming – 1 in 97!

Count the Kicks is committed to preventing stillbirth and reducing racial disparities in birth outcomes. In Iowa, where the campaign started, the stillbirth rate has dropped nearly 32% in 10 years! If this success is replicated in all 50 states, more than 7,500 babies will be saved every year!

How do I get to know my baby’s movement patterns?

  • Download the free app or use a paper movement monitoring chart [download here]. 
  • Begin counting in the third trimester (28 weeks, or 26 weeks if you are high risk or pregnant with multiples).
  • 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 (kicks, jabs, pokes, rolls, or swishes – but not hiccups, as those are involuntary) by tapping the foot on our app until you reach 10 movements. 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 to get to 10 movements.
  • 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.
  • Create an account to save your kick counting sessions in the app and see your baby’s movement history over time. (Note: If you do not wish to create a profile, you can still count kicks via the ‘Count Kicks’ option on the main menu. However, your history will not be saved in order for you to track a change in movement patterns).
  • Your kick counting history can be shared directly with your provider via text or email, 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 baby kicks helps you to 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 in this experience with you and bond with the baby.

What languages is the Count the Kicks app available in?

The FREE Count the Kicks app is available in 16 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Mandarin Chinese, Dari, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Marshallese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese.

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. Tracking your baby’s movement every day takes the guesswork out of knowing if your normally active baby has slowed down. You have real data to show your healthcare provider if you have a concern.

Why do I need to Count the Kicks? I’m past the first trimester, I should be out the danger  zone.

According to the CDC, one out of every 175 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Black pregnancies have a 1 in 97 chance of ending in stillbirth.

Of mothers who have lost a baby to stillbirth in the third trimester, 50% reported perceived gradual decline in fetal movement several days prior to the death of their baby. This indicates that many cases of stillbirth are not sudden. There may be time to save your baby if you are aware of the warning signs.

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 to occur when a baby is in distress, whereas decreased movement is an early sign. Daily monitoring allows you to detect a change in your baby’s movements. A significant change in your baby’s movement may indicate potential problems before actual changes in the heart rate are detected. By the time the heart slows, it may be too late. The time between decreased movement and decreased heart rate may be the only time you have to save your baby.

At what point in my pregnancy do I start Count the Kicks?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you begin counting kicks in your 28th week, or at 26 weeks if you are high risk or pregnant with multiples.

What is considered normal?

Every baby and every pregnancy is different. Keeping track of your daily kick counting sessions will help you know what is “normal” for your baby.  

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.

Do babies kick less near the end of pregnancy?

NO! Toward the end of pregnancy your baby may move differently. You may feel less sharp kicking and more rolling. However, if you are monitoring the 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 significant change in your baby’s movement patterns.

What should I do if I cannot feel my baby move?

Do not wait if there are significant 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.