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Kick This: Another Pointless Device for the Paranoid Parent

Every 21 minutes a baby is stillborn in the US; 70 babies each day.

Scared? Get a medical device to track your baby’s kicks. This piece of electronic junk product records the number of kicks per day. And if your baby sometimes kicks noticeably less, you can totally freak out and head to the OB for an unnecessary appointment. Whee!

With marketing like

Help Mothers protect their unborn babies!

what’s not to love about the kickTrak?! I mean, besides using scare tactics to sell more useless stuff?

Yes, stillborn births are indeed a serious and tragic occurrence. But most pregnancies are low risk. It’s this kind of device that perpetuates the myth that pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous medical conditions which must be constantly monitored.

The kickTrak claims that it can help lower the risk of a stillbirth because tracking kicks is a good measure of fetal health. It also tracks how far along you are in your pregnancy, and counts down the last 99 days until baby arrives. The testimonials include these puzzling quotes:

My babykick kickTrak device takes the tedium and much of the tension away. This handy little electronic unit has made what used to seem like a chore, almost a pleasure. $39.95 is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

It helped to build a stronger relationship between my husband and me and the baby girl we were expecting. kickTrak helped me to get to know my baby before she arrived. I recommend it for all pregnant women.

Wowwee! You met your baby through a handheld electronic kick counter! You know what else could help you bond with your baby prenatally? Buy a journal for $10–or even make one–and write to him or her. Record your baby’s kicks with–gasp!–your own hand. If you must, spend that $40 on cloth diapers and natural toys instead.

Image: via Unisar’s marketing e-mail.


  1. Yeah, that thing is stupid.

  2. Wow. But then I see dads who want to track contractions on excel spreadsheets.

    Have you seen the $125 device that will tell you what your baby’s cry means?

    (And don’t get me started on home dopplers!)

  3. I find it odd that scare tactics like this are acceptable and permitted to sell a kick counter but REAL health issues like diabetes, infectious diseases, and other health complications are not permitted to be mentioned when promoting things like breastfeeding and natural birthing. This double standard has been around for a long time and regulates our opinions and thoughts on these issues.

    If I had not had so much fear when I was pregnant I do not thing either of my pregnancies would have been so problematic. Sometimes it feels like the average person is at war with commerce.

  4. I’ve always been told to do kick counts, but have just used a stopwatch and a scrap piece of paper.

    I would have to disagree with the assertion that going to see one’s OB/midwife if the baby has decreased movement is unnecessary. I have a friend whose baby needed an emergency c-section because there was a previously undetected problem with the placenta. The way she found out about it was that she noticed decreased movement and saw her doctor. Had she ignored her symptoms, it’s likely her baby would have died in utero. The pregnancy had been considered low-risk up until that point.

  5. I wonder what OBs think of things like this. My midwife had me doing kick counts every day from 26 weeks on. My backup OB told me that kick counts were pointless. I stuck with the MW’s advice.

    I’m getting fed up with all of these devices that make women think there is even more to worry about than there really is. Its kind of like the Duracell commercial when the lady doesn’t see her kid right away, assumes he’s been abducted by child molesting aliens and then relies on her Duracell batteries to power her child locating device.

  6. Anytime I was worried that the baby wasn’t moving much, I’d drink something sweet (like orange juice) and lay down for 30 minutes… it never failed that the little one would wake up and move like a crazy bean.

    If you’re really paranoid, you can do your own “kick count” by making tally marks while laying down.

  7. I have to respectfully disagree with your conclusion that kick counts are unnecessary in low risk pregnancies. I had a normal (low risk) pregnancy and my son was stillborn at 35 weeks. There is nothing worse than the knowledge that but for a little “scary information” I may have been able to save his life.

    Let’s stop acting like we’re fragile flowers who can only handle the butterflies and rainbows version of pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s truly empower women and share with them that one in 160 births will be a stillbirth…and most are due to unexplained causes. I’d prefer information, thank you…even if it’s scary…or wrapped up in a silly electronic gadget.

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