I ususally do count it as a row.
But typically the pattern will give you hints if you need to count it or not.
And there are times where I have found that I have to do opposite from the pattern and not count it because of my method of cast on.
I use Long-tail cast on. I've noticed some of the patterns assume you do the simple loop cast on.
If the pattern tells you, look carefully to see what the wrong and right sides are of the pattern and compare it to your cast on.
If the pattern doesn't tell you, it likely doesn't matter.