How to Do the Fetal Kick Count Test

Couple sitting holding pregnant abdomen.

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During pregnancy, parents wonder all the time about their baby's health and well-being. While a window into the womb is a great idea, it just doesn't work that way. However, there is a simple fetal monitoring technique that you can use at home to help alleviate some of your fears.

Fetal kick counts are simple, free, and easy to do with no special equipment. This method is about monitoring the movement of your baby. While all babies move in different amounts and different times, most healthy babies will move frequently in the uterus.

How to Do a Fetal Kick Count

The first thing you want to do is pick your baby's most active time of the day to begin. After you've eaten may be a good time to try. Do not set yourself up for panic by waiting until the quiet times.

Take a piece of paper and write down the time you start paying attention, put a checkmark on the paper every time you feel movement (kick, twist, punch, turn). Do not count hiccups. When you have felt ten movements, write that time down as well. It should take between 30 minutes and two hours.


Doing this at the same time every day will help with the accuracy of the test. If your baby is having a slow day, try walking for five minutes, eating, or drinking juice or something cold. Then go lie down on your left side to see if that will perk your sleepy little one up. Keep in mind that we do not feel all the movements of the baby.

We actually probably are too busy moving ourselves to notice the majority of movements, which is why slowing down to pay attention is helpful. Also, a placenta that is anterior or a mother with some extra weight may mean another ​​barrier to feeling all the movements.​

Your baby should move ten times in two hours. If this does not happen, wait an hour and try again. If you still aren't able to feel ten movements in two hours, call your practitioner for advice on what to do next.

Remember, there are different methods of kick counting. Ask your practitioner which they prefer.

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By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.