Research on Baby Movements and Stillbirth

Count the Kicks is an evidence-based public health campaign dedicated to the prevention of stillbirth and infant death by educating providers and expectant parents about the importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy.

The Count the Kicks campaign was created based on public health research in Norway that demonstrated a 30 percent reduction in stillbirth by teaching pregnant women how to monitor fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy by doing kick counts on a daily basis. 

Research and best practices are very important to our mission to save babies. Please visit the links below to learn more about the latest research in stillbirth and infant death prevention.

Tracking fetal movement is a non-invasive way for expectant parents to monitor their baby’s health in the third trimester of pregnancy. As we saw in our Norway research and with Count the Kicks in Iowa, babies can be saved when expectant parents are educated on getting to know their baby’s normal movement pattern starting at 28 weeks and to speak up if they notice a change. Babies have literally been saved with this proven method.”
– Dr. Ruth Fretts, Harvard Medical School, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Count the Kicks Medical Advisory Board Member

Latest Research

Additional Research

  • Holm Tveit JV SE, Stray-Pedersen B, Bordahl PE, Flenady V, Fretts R, Froen JF: Reduction of late stillbirth with the introduction of fetal movement information and guidelines—a clinical quality improvement. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2009, 9(32). Fourteen hospitals in Norway participated in this study, which aimed to improve care by providing written information to pregnant women about Decreased Fetal Movement and to provide guidelines on Decreased Fetal Movement to healthcare providers. There was an overall decrease of stillbirths by 1/3, with no increase of preterm births, or need for neonatal care. Read the article

  • ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins with the Assistance of Ruth C Fretts: ACOG practice bulletin: Clinical management guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists 102 03/2009: Obstet Gynecol 113: 748-761
  • Winje B, Saastad E, Gunnes N, Tveit J, Stray-Pedersen B, Flenady V, Frøen J. Analysis of ‘count-to-ten’ fetal movement charts: a prospective cohort study. BJOG 2011;118:1229–1238.
  • Barbieri, Robert: Stillbirth: Preventable tragedy or a lethal “act of nature” an editorial. OBG management 2010:22: 3-16
  • Saastade E, Winje BA, Israel P, Froen JF: Fetal movement counting—maternal concern and experiences: a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial. Birth 2012 Mar; 39 (1): 10-20
  • Fretts R , Duru U: New indications for antepartum testing: Making the case for antepartum surveillance or timed delivery for women of advanced maternal age. Semin Perinatol 32:312-317, 2008 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Froen JF, Heazell A, et al: Fetal movement assessment. Semin Perinatol 32:243-246, 2008 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Froen JF, Tveit JV, et al: Management of decreased fetal movements. Semin Perinatol 32: 307-311, 2008 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Fretts R: Stillbirth: Common causes and prevention strategies. Forum 25: 8-1-, 2007 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th Edition, 2007, American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, page 114 (under paragraph entitled Assessment of Fetal Movement): “The perception of 10 distinct movements in a period of up to 2 hours is considered reassuring. After 10 movements have been perceived, the count can be discontinued for that day.”
  • Reddy U: Prediction and prevention of recurrent stillbirth. Obstet Gynecol 1151-1164, 2007 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Froen JF: A kick from within-fetal movement counting and the cancelled progress in antenatal care. J Perinat Med 32:13-24, 2004 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE
  • Ending Preventable Stillbirths Series 2016. The Lancet: