Fetal movement counting

After 18 to 20 weeks, you will notice that your baby moves and kicks more at certain times of the day. For example, when you are active, you may notice less kicking than when you are resting quietly. At your prenatal visits, your health professional will ask you whether the baby is active. Your sense of your baby's movement is a good measure of how well the baby is doing in the womb.1

In the last trimester of your pregnancy, your health professional may advise you to keep track of the baby's movement every day. A common method of checking your baby's movement is to see how much time it takes to feel 10 movements. Ten movements (such as kicks, flutters, or rolls) in 1 hour or less are considered normal, but do not panic if you do not feel 10 movements. Less activity may simply mean the baby is sleeping.

If you are unable to feel 10 movements over an hour, continue counting for a second hour. If you count fewer than 10 movements over a 2-hour period, call your doctor immediately.


  1. Spong CY (2008). Assessment of fetal well-being. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 152–164. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Last Updated: November 28, 2008

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