The Evidence Behind Count the Kicks

Count The Kicks was created based on public health research in Norway that demonstrated a 30% reduction in stillbirth by teaching pregnant women how to monitor fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy by doing kick counts on a daily basis. 

Read Norway Research

Stillbirth in the U.S. Report

Research shows that the risk of severe maternal morbidity is more than four times higher among stillbirth deliveries compared with live births. “The Link Between Stillbirth and Maternal Mortality and Morbidity: Firsthand Accounts from American Women” includes first-hand accounts from 8 women who shared how speaking up about a change in their baby’s movement not only helped their baby to have a safe arrival, but also identified and addressed pregnancy complications that put their own life at risk.

Stillbirth in the U.S.

A change in a baby’s movements is an early red flag — and a reason to call the doctor immediately. Watch this video to learn more about the link between stillbirth and maternal mortality and morbidity.

Evidence on Count the Kicks Campaign

In the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks campaign in Iowa, the state’s stillbirth rate went down 32% while rates in the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant.

Stillbirth Prevention Research

Evidence on Fetal Movement Monitoring for Stillbirth Prevention

Years of industry research combined with expert analysis proves the importance of kick counting in reducing preventable stillbirths. Click below for more evidence.  

  • Prediction and Prevention of Recurrent Stillbirth. Obstet Gynecol, 2007 [Read more]
  • Ending Preventable Stillbirths Series 2016. The Lancet [Read more]
  • Management of Decreased Fetal Movements. Semin Perinatol, 2008 [Read more]
  • Stillbirth: Common Causes and Prevention, 2007 [Read more]
  • Analysis of ‘count-to-ten’ fetal movement charts: a prospective cohort study [Read more]


Dr. Ruth Fretts, Harvard Medical School, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Count the Kicks’ Medical Advisory Board Member

“Tracking fetal movement is a non-invasive way for expectant parents to monitor their baby’s health in the third trimester of pregnancy. As we saw in our Norway research and with Count the Kicks in Iowa, babies can be saved when expectant parents are educated on getting to know their baby’s normal movement pattern starting at 28 weeks and to speak up if they notice a change. Babies have literally been saved with this proven method.”

-Dr. Ruth Fretts, Harvard Medical School, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Latest Research

Count the Kicks and healthcare providers use the latest information from researchers to improve the care of expectant mothers. Find recent research about fetal movements and infant health below.

  • Stillbirth linked to nearly fivefold increase in maternal morbidity risk, MDedge, Obgyn, 2019 [Read more]
  • A diurnal fetal movement pattern: Findings from a cross-sectional study of maternally perceived fetal movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. (2019) [Read more]
  • An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis of Maternal Going-to-Sleep Position, Interactions with Fetal Vulnerability, and the Risk of Late Stillbirth (2019) [Read more]
  • Alterations in maternally perceived fetal movement and their association with late stillbirth: findings from the Midland and North of England stillbirth case – control study. (2018) [Read more]
  • Stillbirth is associated with perceived alterations in fetal activity – findings from an international case control study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.(2017) [Read more]
  • Maternally perceived fetal movement patterns: The influence of body mass index (2019) [Read more]
  • Sleep Position in Pregnancy Q&A [Read more]

Additional Research

Research about fetal movements has been vital in decreasing stillbirths worldwide.

  • ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins with the Assistance of Ruth C Fretts: ACOG Practice Bulletin: Clinical Management Guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists March 2009 [Read more]
  • Stillbirth: Preventable tragedy or a lethal “act of nature” an editorial. OBG Management, February 2010 [Read more]
  • Fetal movement counting — maternal concern and experiences: a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial. Birth, March 2012 [Read more]
  • New indications for antepartum testing: Making the case for antepartum surveillance or timed delivery for women of advanced maternal age. Seminars in Perinatology, August 2008 [Read more]
  • Fetal movement assessment. Seminars in Perinatology, August 2008 [Read more]
  • A kick from within — fetal movement counting and the cancelled progress in antenatal care. Journal of Perinatal Medicine, June 2005 [Read more]

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant for diagnosis or treatment. Use of this information should be done in accordance with your healthcare provider.