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Counting Your Baby's Kicks: Care Instructions


Counting your baby's kicks is one way your healthcare provider can tell that your baby is healthy. You will probably feel your baby move for the first time between 16 and 22 weeks. The movement may feel like flutters rather than kicks. Your baby may move more at certain times of the day. When you are active, you may notice less kicking than when you are resting. Be aware of your baby’s movements. At your prenatal visits, your healthcare provider will ask whether the baby is active.

In your last trimester, your healthcare provider may ask you to count the number of times you feel your baby move. If you have any complications or concerns with your pregnancy, you may be asked to count your baby’s movements at least once every day.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your healthcare provider or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How do you count fetal kicks?

  • A common method of checking your baby's movement is to note the length of time it takes to count 6 movements (such as kicks, flutters, or rolls).
  • Pick your baby's most active time of day to count. This may be any time from morning to evening.
  • Avoid using tobacco and tobacco like products as these can affect your baby’s movements.
  • Get into a comfortable position – lying on your side or sitting. Place one or both of your hands on your belly.
  • Write down the time that you start counting.
  • Count each time that you feel your baby move. If you feel many movements all at once, count each movement that you feel.
  • Stop counting when you have counted 6 movements.
  • Write down the time you stopped counting.
  • Do not count for more than 2 hours.
  • If you don't feel at least 6 movements in the 2-hour period, call your healthcare provider, nurse advice line, or go to the birthing unit where you’re planning to have your baby.

Do not use an at-home Doppler heart monitor in place of counting fetal movements.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about how often to count your baby’s movements. To keep track of your baby’s movements and for more information on how to count them, go to: Fetal Movement Count Chart (
  • Do not use tobacco or tobacco-like products, including cannabis, and other substances. They can harm your health. They also affect your baby's growth, health, and the development of their brain and lungs. If you need help to use less or quit, talk to your healthcare provider, or go to Alberta Quits website.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol affects everyone differently and may be a risk to your health. Alcohol passes through the placenta to your baby and can cause problems with their growth, health, and development.

When should you call for help?

Call your healthcare provider, midwife, or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You count less than 6 movements in 2 hours. Do not wait. Go to the hospital where you are planning on having your baby for an assessment.
  • You notice that your baby has stopped moving or is moving much less than normal.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your healthcare provider, midwife, or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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