• Kimberly Isburg
  • Mar 06, 24

112. How to Count the Kicks (and why it’s important)

"As your pregnancy progresses, you will begin to feel your baby move more and more. What starts out as light flutters or “butterflies” in the second trimester will eventually become noticeable kicks, jabs, and rolls as you enter the third trimester of pregnancy. Around 24-28 weeks babies get into a noticeable pattern of movements. Kick counting is the practice of becoming familiar with your baby’s normal movement patterns."

What is Count the Kicks?

Count the Kicks is a program that teaches expectant parents a simple and easy method to get to know their baby’s normal movement patterns in the third trimester of pregnancy. Count the Kicks has a FREE pregnancy app (available in 15+ languages) that makes it easy to count how long it takes your baby to move 10 times and to rate the strength of your baby’s movements.

How do I Count the Kicks?

Starting at 28 weeks (or 26 weeks if you’re high-risk or pregnant with multiples) you can download the free Count the Kicks app, print out a paper chart, or use the web counter from a desktop or laptop computer. Pick a time of day when your baby is normally active and then sit with your feet up or lie on your side.

Then, open your app and start counting, then tap the footprint on the app every time your baby moves (kicks, pokes, jabs, and rolls all count!). The only movements that don’t count are hiccups, because  those are involuntary.

The app will time how long it takes your baby to reach 10 movements, and then ask you to rate the strength of your baby’s movements on a scale of 1 to 5. You can also take notes in the app after each session (like what you ate that day or questions you want to ask your provider). After a few days of tracking around the same time each day, you will begin to see an average length of time it takes your baby to get to 10 movements.

What is considered normal?

Every baby and every pregnancy are different. Research has moved away from the idea that you should expect a certain number of movements in a specific period of time. Instead, the key is getting to know what’s normal for YOUR baby.

So, your baby’s normal is the average amount of time it takes your baby to move 10 times each session. Remember to count your baby’s movements around the same time every day and pick a time when your baby is normally active (like after dinner, for example.)

Why should I Count the Kicks?

Babies are a lot like us! Research shows a change in a baby’s movements is sometimes the earliest or only sign there might be an issue with a pregnancy. Just like when you’re not feeling well, you may want to sit on the couch or lie in bed. So, if a baby is not feeling well or is in distress, their movement changes. This is why it’s important to monitor your baby’s movement every day in the third trimester and get yourself and your baby checked right away if you notice any changes.

What are the benefits of kick counting?

Counting your baby’s kicks, jabs, pokes, and rolls is a free, easy, and reliable way to check on your baby’s well-being in the third trimester. Additionally, most Count the Kicks app users (77%) report that using the app daily helped reduce their anxiety about the well-being of their baby.

Counting your baby’s movements is also a great way to bond with your baby and get to know their personality before they arrive. You can even invite your partner or your older children to help you count your baby’s movements! It can be a fun bonding experience for the entire family.

What should I do if I notice a change?

Don’t delay! Trust your instincts and go to the hospital 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. Hospitals are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are ready to help.

Your baby’s movements matter!

If your provider doesn’t talk to you about kick-counting, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s OK to bring up Count the Kicks with your provider and ask to show them your baby’s data in the app. You can even text or email your data directly from your app to your provider!

Also, remember to ask your provider how to contact them if you have concerns and ask when they recommend you go directly to the hospital.

Spread the word!

Count the Kicks is proven to improve birth outcomes for moms and babies. You can join us in helping more babies have a safe arrival by sharing Count the Kicks with every expectant parent you know. Congrats, and remember: Every kick (jab, poke, and roll) counts!


Kimberly Isburg is the Communications Manager for Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program. Kimberly used Count the Kicks to get to know her babies’ normal movement patterns during both of her pregnancies and is proud to be the mom of two healthy boys. She is a passionate advocate for maternal health causes and is honored to work for an organization that is dedicated to improving birth outcomes and saving the lives of moms and babies. Visit www.CountTheKicks.org to learn more.