Count The Kicks

count the kicks 2

The importance of your unborn baby’s well-being whilst your pregnant is paramount for any mum-to-be. So keeping a close eye on daily movements is essential to ensure you’re baby is well. But what if one day your baby hadn’t moved as much as usual. What if you were 38 weeks pregnant and a friend reassured you that it was probably because the baby didn’t have much room, or that it was a sign you could be going into labour. What would you do? Count The Kicks is a UK based charity that aims to educate mums on the importance of a baby’s movements and to help them work with healthcare professionals to bring home a healthy baby. Chief Executive Elizabeth Hutton explains why the charity was first set up and what should mums and midwives know about fetal movements in pregnancy.

Tell me about Count The Kicks charity and why it was started. 

Count the Kicks is trying to empower mums to be with knowledge and confidence during pregnancy by raising awareness of babys movements and their importance in a baby’s wellbeing. We were founded in 2009 by Sophia Mason following the tragic stillbirth of her daughter Chloe. Chloe’s movements had begun to slow down leading up to her due date but Sophia was led to believe this was normal, but what she’d read on the internet and in magazines. When she called her midwife, it was too late. Chloe was stillborn 3 days before her due date. Determined to ensure other mums did not experience the same heartache, Sophia set up Count the Kicks to raise awareness of how important fetal movements really are.

What is the aim of the charity and how can Mums-to-be access support and information? 

We want mums to feel confident enough to call their midwife if they notice any change in their baby’s regular pattern of movement. We produce leaflets, stickers and posters that we send to midwives so many mums will be able to access the information straight from their midwife. Our leaflets are also in the mum to be Bounty Packs that mums can collect at 20 weeks. Alternatively all our information is available online at countthekicks.org.uk or on our Facebook page facebook.com/ukcountthekicks

There still seems to be a lot of conflicting advice about what’s normal for baby’s movements eg ’10 kicks a day’ ‘baby slowing down before labour’ ‘movements less when there’s not much room’. How can we as midwives make sure women are receiving the correct advice about fetal movements?

The current guidelines say that a woman should report any change in her baby’s regular pattern of movement. There is no set number a woman needs to get to so counting to 10 is unhelpful. Movements vary from 4 – 100 every hour and fetal movement is completely dependent on what a mum perceives to be her baby’s movements. One woman may feel every little roll and movement, while another may only feel the big kicks, how can we be telling both these women they need to feel the same number? They need to know what they see as their baby’s regular pattern and then they can report if they notice any change in that. It is important for mums to also be aware that babies do not slow down as they reach the end of pregnancy.

As a midwife I always reassure women that they never waste my time by calling if they haven’t felt their baby move. What advice do you give women if they have any concerns. 

Much the same! We always advise women to report any change in movement to their midwife. We want them to be reassured that midwives would much rather see them a hundred times and have to keep telling them the baby is fine, than to see them once and have to deliver devastating news. So if you are ever worried about your baby you should contact your midwife. They are there to help you. 

If you had a pot of gold – how and where would you use the money to help families affected by losing a baby?

Our aim is to prevent stillbirth, we would love for no one to need bereavement support. If I had a pot of god I would love to continue to provide our leaflets but also be able to provide our wristbands free to all mums to be. This would cost approximately £1 million pounds a year so we would need a big pot! But we hope to one day make that a reality. 

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3 thoughts on “Count The Kicks

  1. This is a great campaign but I worry that the name “count the kicks” might perpetuate the myth of there being a number you need to reach to know it’s all find. I can’t think of a more appropriate name that’s as snappy, but perhaps someone else could. I’d hate for the name to be contradicting the very important message the campaign’s trying to get out.

    • Hi May 🙂

      I hope you don’t mind me responding.

      I’ve heard of count the kicks over the years & I think the name is a genius idea. I can completely see where you’re coming from though, but it’s a name that mums or mums to be will remember – & as stated in Clemmie’s post & on their website & articles, it isn’t about ‘counting’ to a specific number, but more about being consciously aware of how often your own baby moves daily, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. I know of some mums who have had successful pregnancies after loss(es), & find ‘counting’ movements (whether in the literal sense or keeping a mental note) therapeutic & keeping stress or worry levels to a minimum, I think this is more about being aware of your own babies movements as every to be mum is different & understand their bodies & baby’s (or babies!) natural daily routines, & that if anything is out of the normal to immediately seek help.

      After 2 miscarriages I think this charity is marvellous & I think once everything is explained it’s an added comfort all round 🙂 It also helps to have lovely midwives on hand!

      Take care,
      Laura x

      • I don’t mind at all! It’s good to hear views from someone who has experienced pregnancy and pregnancy loss – I only have a professional perspective on it at the moment. At antenatal checks we always ask women whether their baby is moving normally according to the routine they have got used to, but I know that in the past women were told to count up to ten kicks and if they reached ten then everything was fine. That’s the false message I’m concerned about. You’re absolutely right about it being memorable though; “Monitor the Movements” or something wouldn’t sound quite as snappy somehow. I 100% support this charity though, they’re doing good work.

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