Fetal movement counts

Fetal movement counts

Somali: Tirada dhaqaaqa uur-jiifka

You may be asked to keep track of your baby's movements. This is called doing a fetal movement count. Tracking your baby's movements each day gives you a special time to pay attention to your baby as well as check on their well-being.

A total of 10 or more distinct movements in two hours suggests your baby is doing well. If your baby is moving less than usual, this may be a sign that they are under some stress or that a problem may be developing. 

If you haven't felt your baby move in a while, eat some food and drink some water. Lie down and you should feel movement. If you do not feel movement after one hour of resting, call your health care provider or birth center.

Baby's activity record worksheet (fetal movement counts) can help you record your baby's movements.

Once a day, record your baby's activity.

  • Choose a time of day when your baby is active. Try to do this about the same time every day. That will make it easier to see your baby's pattern. It also makes it less likely that you will be timing when your baby is sleeping.
    If you haven't been able to quit smoking, try not to smoke for at least one hour before you start counting. Smoking cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen your baby gets. This can make your baby less active.
  • Choose a quiet place where you can focus on your baby's movements. Lie on your side or sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Write down on the worksheet the time you start counting your baby's movements. Put a check for each time your baby kicks, twists or turns. Don't count hiccups. Keep track until you have felt 10 movements. Do not count longer than two hours.
  • When your baby has moved 10 times, write down that time. Total how long it took to get the 10 movements.

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your baby has not moved 10 times in two hours.
  • You notice a major change in your baby's activity.
  • You are worried about your baby's activity level.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, eighth edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/06/2021