What is a Kick Count Chart?Pregnancy
A kick count chart is a graph or a grid printed with spaces to record the daily movements of your baby. Kick count charts are mainly used for pregnant mothers who express concern about their baby's movements, or if they have a health condition, or pregnancy complications that may put their baby at an increased risk. Many doctors and midwives use kick count charts as a routine part of perinatal care for all women during late pregnancy.
Your practitioner often provides you with their own version of a kick count chart, but all of them are pretty straight forward. You could even draw one up yourself or just record the date, times and movements on a piece of paper, or an even easier idea is to use an app on your phone to record movements when they happen. The idea is to keep a record of your baby's movements, not just kicks. This means a tickle, elbow punch, leg stretch, finger poke, bump, or a body roll, all count as 'kicks'. Also if your baby has some rigorous activity that have several distinct movements within a short space of time, each movement is considered separately, not as one movement.
As a guide, there are two common methods used for monitoring a baby's movements with kick count charts. As you will see, there are many inconsistencies in what is regarded as adequate movements. But if you are ever concerned, contact your health care provider.
The Cardiff Count To Ten Method
This uses an 8 to 12 hour period to record at least 10 of your baby's movements. The time period you choose will depend on when you think your baby is most active, for example in the evenings. If your baby has at least 10 movements within this 12-hour period they are thought to be healthy. If your baby has not moved in 12 hours, or you are concerned, you should contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
Start your chart at around the same time each day. The first time you feel your baby move, record the time and write it down on your chart. Try to count every movement or kick until your baby has moved ten times. When you feel your tenth movement, write down the time again on your chart.
One To Two Hour Method
This involves lying quietly on your left side, without distraction, for about 30 minutes after you’ve eaten. After supper may be a good time if this is when your baby is most active. Your baby should move about 3 to 5 times within an hour. If you are concerned you should contact your practitioner.
You can bring your kick count chart with you to your routine prenatal appointments. If you do contact your physician or midwife because you are concerned about your baby's movements, they may suggest you go to the hospital labour and delivery unit for a non-stress test. This involves your baby's heart rate being continuously monitored with an electronic fetal monitor for about 20 to 40 minutes. You'll press a button every time your baby moves and the readout is marked each time you do so. Your baby's heart rate will react, ideally by accelerating, during or after each movement. If all looks well, you’ll be sent home; however, if there is a concern your care provider will discuss your options if further interventions become necessary, or inducing labour is required.
We encourage you to learn more about our "What in the World" series. Please see our A to Z index for a whole host of pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting information and terminology.
Loree Siermachesky works as a multi-certified labour and postpartum doula, certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified car seat technician in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. She has had the honour of attending over 1400 births in the last 20 years. She is well-known and greatly respected by the medical providers in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Taber, and Calgary. She cares deeply for this profession and even more for her clientele, honoring them in whatever method of birth they choose, or helping them transition to new parenthood as they wish.