Expectant Moms Encouraged to Count the Kicks

posted by Jeannette Hasley on Friday, April 20, 2018

You just experienced what it was like to take a home pregnancy test and see that it was positive. You shared the excitement with your friends and family and now your pregnancy is “real.” You begin planning and dreaming. You wonder if it will be a boy or a girl, will she have lots of hair or no hair? Will he have his daddy’s dimples? Will she sleep through the night?

The weeks go by and you begin getting ready for the baby by planning his or her room. You are excited by the pregnancy and yet also know that your growing bump can make it difficult to get comfy or sleep well. And your moods may be all over the place. You are tired. You just want get to the end of your pregnancy so you can hold that new little baby.

Fast forward. You are now about 16-20 weeks into the pregnancy and you feel the baby move for the first time. The excitement just keeps building and the realization that you will be parents soon gets even more real. 

This anticipation is something that is simply unforgettable. There is a sad realization that for some moms, the excitement turns into despair and tragedy if they fall into a statistic and an outcome that no woman desires. The statistics for babies that are stillborn in the United States are staggering. Did you know that a baby is born still every 22 minutes in the U.S.? Did you know that one in every 167 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth?

In the early 2000s, five Iowa moms endured such a heartache of losing a child to stillbirth or infant death. After being connected through friends and pastors, these women decided to channel their grief into prevention efforts to help keep other families from experiencing the pain they had faced. They first worked to develop an Iowa, then a national, Stillbirth Registry. Then they launched an education and prevention initiative called “Count The Kicks!”

Their mission was simple to save babies. Based off scientific research, they developed guidelines on counting the kicks of babies during the third trimester. This is important because there are changes in baby’s movements that can indicate potential problems. This grassroots group frequently hears from moms whose babies were saved because they noticed a change in their baby’s movements and sought out medical help.

Why is this important? A decline in fetal movement has been reported in as much as fifty percent of mothers who have lost a baby to stillbirth. This indicates that many cases of stillbirth are not sudden. Count the Kicks will help you detect any changes in your baby’s movement pattern that may indicate potential problems

Counting baby’s kicks is really simple. When your third trimester starts, you start monitoring baby’s daily kicks.  It’s recommended you try to do a “kick count” approximately the same time every day. You can sit with your feet up or you can lay down to count the kicks, focusing on how long it takes your baby to kick 10 times. Most of the time your baby will take about a half an hour to move 10 times but it could take up to 2 hours. The goal is to know what is normal for your baby. Every baby will move differently so doing the counts the same time every day will get you to know the “norm” for your baby. If you notice a change or it takes longer than 2 hours to Count the Kicks, you should contact your provider or go to the hospital for evaluation.

The Count the Kicks team has made this even easier for you by providing an app for both Androids and IOS found in GooglePlay and iTunes. The app will record the amount of time it took to get to 10 movements. They have set it up to even Count the Kicks if you are pregnant with twins!

Go to the Count the Kicks website to learn more.

About The Author

Jeannette Hasley

Jeannette L. Hasley is our Director of Obstetrics, Women's Health & Diabetes Education. Jeannette earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. She started her nursing career in Denver, Colorado where she quickly learned that she had a deep passion that would be fueled b ... read more