Pregnancy - Baby Moving Less

Is this your symptom?

  • Concerns that the baby is moving less
  • Questions about how to do a kick count
  • Pregnant and patient is not in labor

Key Points

  • Quickening is when a woman first feels her baby move. This usually occurs between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Thin women feel the baby move sooner than overweight women.

Women use many different words to describe their babies' movements:

  • Early in pregnancy women may describe a "fluttering," a "nudge," a "butterfly," or a slight "twitch."
  • Later in pregnancy the baby's movements are more forceful. Women may then describe "hard kicking," "punching," or "rolling."

Baby Movement and Pregnancy Dates:

  • 1-15 Weeks: Baby is too small for mother to feel the baby move.
  • 16-18 Weeks: Some women begin to feel the baby move, especially if they had a baby before.
  • 18-20 Weeks: Most women begin to feel the baby move around this time.
  • 24 Weeks: All women should feel the baby move by this time.
  • Over 28 Weeks: Some doctors advise that women check kick counts each day.

Performing Daily Kick Counts:

  • Doing a daily "kick count" or using a "kick chart" is one way to track your baby's movement.
  • Some doctors recommend kick counts and some doctors do not.
  • In some cases (such as a high risk pregnancy), it may be more important to check daily kick counts.

Kick Count Instructions

  • Pick the time of the day that your baby is most active.
  • Sit back in a comfortable chair or lie down on your left side in bed.
  • Do this in a quiet room (no TV, cell phone, computer, or children).
  • Count any baby movement (kicks, rolls, flutters). Count up to 10.
  • Normal Kick Count: 5 or more in one hour, or 10 or more in 2 hours.
  • Low Kick Count: Less than 5 in one hour, or less than 10 in 2 hours.

When to Call for Pregnancy - Baby Moving Less

Call 911 Now

  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • You are 24 or more weeks pregnant and think the baby is moving less
  • You are 24 or more weeks pregnant and kick count is low (less than 5 in 1 hour, or less than 10 in 2 hours)
  • Fever over 100.4° F (38.0° C)
  • New hand or face swelling
  • New low back pain or pelvic pressure that does not go away
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You are 20 - 23 weeks pregnant and think the baby is moving less
  • Pain or burning with passing urine
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You are 20 or more weeks pregnant and have not felt the baby move yet
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Baby moving normally OR normal kick count
  • You are less than 20 weeks pregnant and have not felt the baby move yet

Care Advice for Decreased Baby Movement

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Quickening is when a woman first feels her baby move. This usually occurs between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy.
    • Thin women feel the baby move sooner than overweight women.
    • Early in pregnancy women may describe a "fluttering," a "nudge," a "butterfly," or a slight "twitch."
    • Later in pregnancy the baby's movements are more forceful. Women may then describe "hard kicking," "punching," or "rolling."
  2. Baby Movement and Pregnancy Dates:
    • 1-15 Weeks: Baby is too small for mother to feel the baby move.
    • 16-18 Weeks: Some women begin to feel the baby move, especially if they had a baby before.
    • 18-20 Weeks: Most women begin to feel the baby move around this time.
    • 24 Weeks: All women should feel the baby move by this time.
    • Over 28 Weeks: Some doctors advise that women check kick counts each day.
  3. Checking Daily Kick Counts:
    • Doing a daily "kick count" or using a "kick chart" is one way to track your baby's movement.
    • Some doctors advise kick counts and some doctors do not.
    • In some cases (such as a high risk pregnancy), it may be more important to check daily kick counts.
  4. How to Do a Kick Count:
    • Pick the time of the day that your baby is most active.
    • Sit back in a comfortable chair or lie down on your left side in bed.
    • Do this in a quiet room (no TV, cell phone, computer, or children).
    • Count any baby movement (kicks, rolls, flutters). Count up to 10.
    • Normal Kick Count: 5 or more in one hour, or 10 or more in 2 hours.
    • Low Kick Count: Less than 5 in one hour, or less than 10 in 2 hours.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Low kick count (less than 5 in 1 hour, or less than 10 in 2 hours)
    • Kick count is normal, but you still are worried that something is wrong
    • You have other questions
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You become worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 12/14/2017 1:32:40 AM
Last Updated: 5/17/2017 5:42:37 PM

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