What is Kick Counting and is it important?

I feel inspired to share the story of how kick counting saved my baby’s life.

I don’t tell it to scare you.

I want to empower you by giving you a tool to know how your baby is doing.

I was on bedrest, starting at 25 weeks with my first son, Thing 1.  I had plenty of time to do kick counts.  This is when you keep track of how many kicks/movements (not including hiccups) you feel in an hour.  It typically takes less than an hour, because you stop tracking once you reach 10 kicks.  If you do it the same time every day, it gives you a pretty good idea of how active your baby tends to be at that time of day.  If you notice an drop in activity, it could be a signal that something may be up with your baby.

Even though I had plenty of time being on bedrest, I did a different idea one of my friends told me.  Each time you eat, count 3 distinct movements.  Once you have, you are done.  This was super easy, as babies are usually pretty active after you eat.  (I have never seen this anywhere else and it is not the correct way to do kick counts.)

At 34 weeks pregnant after 9 weeks of bedrest, I woke up and ate my breakfast.  After awhile (probably 30 min) I realized that

  • T1 hadn’t moved yet.
  • I drank some juice, still no movements
  • I put an ice pack on my tummy, no movements

I called the OB in a panic.  They told me to drink more juice and monitor for another hour.  (My intuition was saying something is WRONG and I wish I had pressed the issue and said, “NO, I am coming in NOW.” )  But I did what they said and there were still no movements.  I called back and they set up a non-stress test for me after lunch.

I was so scared, I thought that I had lost him.  My husband gave me a blessing and said that T1 would be be OK and that he would come when he was ready.  I felt better after the blessing, but we still got to the monitoring place early and then had to wait, because they were at lunch.

Once we got attached to all the monitors for the NST, I was so happy to hear T1′s heartbeat and I assumed all was well.  The nurse buzzed my tummy a few times because he was “sleeping”  I didn’t know then, but it was bad news that his heart rate didn’t change at all with the buzzer.  I had some pressure waves and his heart rate dropped with each one.  With both those things, they knew that he was under distress.

I was told to head over to the hospital ASAP and he was born, via emergency cesarean about 30 minutes after getting there.  (You can read his whole birth story here.)

Being aware of my baby’s movements saved his life!

I am glad that I did my simple way of keeping track of his movements.

However, if I had been doing kick counts the official way, I may have noticed sooner that there was a decrease in movements and may have been able to had him sooner!

I found it interesting in researching kick counting that:

Significant changes in the fetal movement pattern may help identify potential problems with your pregnancy before the baby’s heart rate is affected

I had a mom on the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group who mentioned she was worried because her baby wasn’t as active as usual.  I suggested she contact her care provider and go in and get checked out.  She did and the baby looked fine.  The mom posted the next day with the update but said she was still worried and the baby was still not very active (unusual for her baby)  I suggest that she call her care provider and insist on being seen again.  I reminder her that her intuition was more powerful then their machines!   She did go back in that day and this time the monitors picked up the baby’s distress and her baby was born via cesarean that day.

Trust your intuition! This is the biggest thing I have learned in mothering.  It is a powerful tool we have and it can start in pregnancy.  Trust your baby too – he/she can communicate with you via their movements!

Tools for Kick Counting

BabyKick Kick Trak  – This is a tool you can use to keep track of your baby’s kicks.  It also can be used to keep track of contractions.

There are also many Apps for different phones to do kick counting on.   I recently reviewed an Pregnancy Companion App that has Pregnancy Information as well as kick counter as one of it’s tools.   Or there are individual Kick Tracker Apps such as Nine Months or Baby Kicks

Or you can always use paper and pencil.

I hope this post encourages you to take the time to pay attention to your baby’s movements every day!

I posted this story on my Enjoy Birth Blog 2 years ago and still get comments from moms who say that kick counting saved their baby too.  Quite a few comment that it is because they read my story that they took the decrease in activity seriously and called their care provider when they noticed.    If you notice a decrease in movement – don’t be scared – be proactive.  Let your care provider know and if they don’t take it seriously, but your intuition says it is important, then force the issue!

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9 Comments

  1. I have another friend who has a very similar story to yours, and kick counts saved her daughter as well. I’ve never been good about doing kick counts myself. I really need to work on that if I have any more kids!

  2. melonie225@aol.com Reply

    Ok, but i had really wanted to know what the issue/problem was. The causative factors…?

    • enjoybirth Reply

      They aren’t completely sure. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck 2 times, so they assume it was a cord compression issue.

  3. You know, I wish I had read this before my daughter died. I wonder if this would’ve saved her. She had her umbilical vein rupture for no apparent reason when she was 38.5 weeks. The day before she was born, I noticed that she wasn’t moving. I figured I was just being paranoid and I ignored it. Like, you know that sometimes when you’re having lots of contractions and labor is immanent that your baby sleeps a lot and hunkers down for labor. That’s what I thought was happening. I always assumed that even if I went in she still would’ve died from the blood clot, and I would’ve had an emergency c-section instead of the peaceful homebirth the next day. But I would’ve done ANYTHING to save her. And your post made me cry out in anguish wishing that I would’ve tried to see if I could have saved her. Would my life be different now? Or would God have taken her because no matter what, she wasn’t meant for this world?

    • enjoybirth Reply

      I am so sorry for your loss. What you describe sounds like it probably happened very quickly and it may have not made a difference if you had gone in. I don’t know. But from different experiences I have had with friends losses both at birth and with children, I feel that for the most part when it is time for them to return to God, it is time. It isn’t usually something we can stop.

      Hugs to you!
      Sheridan

    • Kate – I am so sorry for your loss. That is a lot to process. My first son passed away 5 years ago and it is still a journey in processing what happened. It is natural to review the events that led up to the death and yet I do know that it was his time. It is painful but there is peace as the journey continues. Much love and comfort to you.

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