Fetal movement: Feeling your baby kick

Fetal movement: Feeling your baby kick

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When will I start to feel my baby move?

You probably won't feel your baby kick until sometime between 16 and 22 weeks, even though he started moving at 7 or 8 weeks. (You may have witnessed his acrobatics if you've already had an ultrasound.)

Veteran moms tend to notice those first subtle kicks, also known as "quickening," earlier than first-time moms because it's easier to distinguish your baby's kicks from other belly rumblings (such as gas) if you've been pregnant before. You're also more likely to feel these early movements when you're sitting or lying quietly.

Your build may have something to do with when you'll be able to tell a left jab from a hunger pang: Thin women tend to feel movement earlier and more often.

Once you can feel your baby moving, it probably will be a few weeks more until your partner can feel the baby kick.

What do early fetal movements feel like?

Women have described the sensation as feeling like popcorn popping, a goldfish swimming around, or butterflies fluttering. You might think those first gentle taps or swishes in your belly are gas or hunger pains, but you'll recognize the difference once you start feeling them more regularly.

How often should I feel my baby move?

At first, noticeable kicks will be few and far between. You may feel several movements one day and then none the next. Although your baby is moving and kicking regularly, many of his movements just aren't strong enough for you to feel yet. But those reassuring kicks will become stronger and more regular later in the second trimester.

And don't worry if your experience is different from your friends'. Every baby has his own pattern of activity, and as long as your baby's usual activity level doesn't decrease, chances are he's doing just fine.

Will my baby kick less toward the end of my pregnancy?

No. Even as your growing baby takes up more space in your uterus and might have longer periods of quiet, he should not become less active overall. You may even feel his movements more often as he gets stronger and has less room.

Do I need to keep track of my baby's kicks?

Once you're feeling kicks regularly, pay attention to how often he moves, and let your healthcare provider know right away if you ever notice your baby's activity level slow down.

Less movement may signal a problem, and your provider may want you to have a nonstress test, an ultrasound measurement of amniotic fluid to check on your baby, and possibly a biophysical profile to make sure everything is okay. (You may also have these tests as a routine part of your prenatal care.)

By the time you're in your third trimester, some providers recommend that you spend some time each day counting your baby's kicks. There are lots of ways to do this, so ask your provider for specific instructions.

For example, your provider may suggest that you choose a time of day when your baby tends to be active. (Ideally, you'll want to do the counts at roughly the same time each day.) Then sit quietly or lie on your side and time how long it takes to feel 10 distinct movements – kicks, punches, and whole body movements all count. If you don't feel 10 movements in two hours, call your healthcare provider.

Learn more:

Watch the video: Snippet: Tracking fetal movements at 24 weeks (June 2022).


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