Counting your baby’s kicks helps you tell your baby’s position in your womb. Your baby’s position can give you a general idea of their overall health. And in some cases, it can help you determine your due date.
This is an essential introduction to baby kick counts. We’ll explain why it’s a good idea to count your baby kicks and when you should start counting kicks. We’ll also share some tips on how to do it.
Please note – this is just general guidance, and different sources might tell you different things about how and when to count your baby’s kicks.
For the best advice or if at any time you feel that something isn’t right or you have any concerns, talk to your doctor or midwife immediately. You can also check the NHS’s online resources.
Why You Should Count Your Baby’s Kicks
Your baby’s kicks can give an indication of their general wellbeing before birth. Some babies move more often than others so if you get into the habit of counting your baby’s kicks, you’ll come to understand what’s “normal” for them. If your baby starts to move less often, then it might mean that something’s wrong.
If they start to move less often, you’ll be able to tell as soon as possible. This can act as an early warning sign, and you can then head to your doctor for a scan and expert advice.
Plus, paying attention to your baby’s kicks can help you bond with your baby before they’re born. Every time you feel a kick, you might feel a deeper and warmer connection with your baby.
When Should I Start Counting Kicks?
You’ll probably start feeling your baby’s movements between 16 and 22 weeks into your pregnancy. But your third trimester is the best time to start counting kicks – 28 weeks into your pregnancy. This is because, from this point on, your baby will start to establish a pattern, and their kicks will become stronger and more regular.
How To Count Your Baby’s Kicks
There is no single best method for counting your baby’s kicks. Your doctor can advise you on a system that works for you. They’ll also be able to answer any questions you might have about your baby’s movements, and what they might mean.
A popular method for counting your baby’s kicks is to see how long it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. This could take as little as half an hour, or it could take up to two hours. What matters is that you establish what’s “normal” for your baby.
When using this technique, any movement counts, not just kicks. And the number of movements is more important than the strength of the movement.
How Often Should You Count Your Baby’s Kicks?
Aim to do this at least once a day. Do it somewhere quiet and comfortable, where you can really focus on your baby’s movements without any major distractions. A good position for counting kicks is while you’re lying on your left side with your hands on your belly. This position can increase your blood flow, which can encourage your baby to move.
It’s also good practice to do your kick counts at the same time each day, as this will help you further establish what’s “normal” for your baby. To avoid losing count, keep a tally, and be sure to note the time you feel the first movement and the tenth movement.
How Will I Know If There’s A Problem?
Do this often enough and you’ll come to understand your baby’s regular patterns. If you notice any changes talk to your doctor or midlife immediately, don’t wait. Most likely, there’ll be nothing wrong. But it’s best to be sure.
If your kick count is low, you could also try encouraging your baby to move. Read our full guide to encouraging your baby to move here.
Supporting You Throughout Your Pregnancy
On our Real Parenting blog, we have many guides and resources to help you through your pregnancy and beyond:
- When should I start buying baby stuff?
- How to prepare for breastfeeding.
- The essential hospital bag checklist for labour.
Browse our full range of green and comfortable products for you and your baby.