Baby movements during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby
Baby movements during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
An exciting landmark of pregnancy is when you first feel the sensation of your baby move. These movements are a sign that your baby is healthy and well.
Every baby is unique, it is important for you to get to know your baby’s individual movement pattern. At any point, if you are concerned about your babies movement pattern, please contact your midwife or doctor immediately. Do not wait until the next day.
When will I feel my baby moving?
You will start to feel your baby moving between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. The location of your placenta will not affect this sensation. It is more common for women having their second or subsequent pregnancies to feel their baby move earlier.
If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, you should contact your doctor or midwife.
What will my baby’s movement feel like?
The type of movement you feel will depend on what your baby is doing and their stage of growth and development. Each baby is different, with some more active than others.
The first sensations you feel may be a fluttering (like 'butterflies in your tummy'), swishing, rolling or tumbling sensation or a tiny kick. These early sensations are often called ‘quickening’. As your pregnancy progresses, the movements will become more distinct, and you will more easily feel their kicks, jabbing and elbowing.
How often should I feel my baby moving?
There is no set number of movements you should feel. As you start to feel your baby's movements more consistently, usually by 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will get to know what a normal pattern of movement is for you and your baby. You should then consistently feel your baby's movements right up until they are born and even during labour.
Babies tend to move more at certain times of day – they may be more active while you sleep, and sleep while you’re awake. Usually, unborn babies sleep for 20-40 minutes cycles (occasionally up to 90 minutes), and they don’t move when they’re asleep.
Should I track my baby’s movement?
There are no set number of movements a baby should have, so counting kicks or recording on a chart is no longer recommended.
It is important to make time regularly each day to notice your babies’ movements. If you are busy or not paying attention it can be easy to miss this very important signal from your baby. If you are busy or working, it may be helpful to set reminders for yourself to check in with your baby.
Common myths about baby movements
It is not true that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy.
Having something to eat or drink does not help stimulate your baby to move.
What should I do if my baby stops moving?
If you haven't felt any movement from your baby by 24 weeks, see your doctor or midwife.
At any stage of your pregnancy, if you are concerned about your baby's movements, contact your midwife or doctor immediately. Do not wait until the next day. A slowing down of movement may be a sign that your baby is unwell.
Your doctor or midwife will invite you into the hospital and check your baby’s heart rate using a CTG Machine. In some instances, you may also have an ultrasound.
What do I do if I have recurring concerns about my baby’s movements?
Remember you are the one who knows your baby’s movements best. It is important that whenever you are concerned about your baby’s movements to contact your doctor or midwife.
Contact your doctor or midwife again even if you have already seen them about your baby’s movements previously.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
Australian Family Physician (Decreased fetal movements: a practical approach in primary care setting), Mater Mother's Hospital (Pregnancy – your baby’s movements and what they mean), Raising Children Network (16 weeks pregnant), Miracle Babies (Your baby’s movements), PSANZ SANDA (Baby's Movements), Red Nose (Decreased fetal movements (DFM)), Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth (Movement matters)
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Last reviewed: April 2022
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Feeling your baby move during pregnancy | Your Pregnancy Matters
Fetal movement has long been considered a sign of the baby’s well-being. So it’s only natural that changes in the movement – or the inability to feel movement – could cause concern.
As you go through the various stages of pregnancy, keep in mind these facts about fetal movements:
You might not feel your baby move for the first 20 weeks.
Several factors can determine when and how you feel the first fetal movements. (We will discuss them.)
The types of movements you feel will change during the pregnancy.
When should I feel my baby move?
Before 14 weeks, the baby will be moving, but you usually won’t be able to feel it. Most of our patients come in for an ultrasound when they are around 8 to 10 weeks pregnant, to help us confirm their due date. The baby is about an inch long at this point with small limb buds, making it look like a tiny teddy bear. During the ultrasound, we can see the entire baby bouncing around inside the uterus in a sac of amniotic fluid.
The first fetal movements are often described as a “fluttering.” It is often such a subtle movement that you have to be still and pay close attention to notice it.
Some women can feel their baby move as early as 15 weeks, while others don’t notice it until closer to 20 to 22 weeks. It varies for each person and depends on a number of factors. There’s no difference in the health of a baby whose movements are felt sooner rather than later.
I frequently tell my patients about my experience when I was pregnant with twins. As an obstetrician, I was trained to use my stethoscope to listen for fetal heart beats. I could hear their heart beats at 18 weeks of pregnancy, but even with two babies, it was close to 21 weeks before I was certain that I was feeling them move. You also should be reassured by your second trimester ultrasound, where you can see the baby moving around, even if you aren’t feeling it yet.
As the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, the movements usually become stronger. Some of the kicks and flips might take your breath away. If the movements feel rhythmic for a few minutes, your baby probably has a case of the hiccups!
Once you start to feel movement, it may be helpful to refer to a pregnancy calendar. These calendars offer week-by-week pregnancy information and can help you track your baby’s development. A quick online search will produce several options. Having this kind of information delivered by text message is easy, too.
Toward the end of the pregnancy, the baby is bigger and has less room to move around, so women often notice a difference in the movements. Sharp jabs and somersaults turn into nudges, as the baby settles into a uterus that is relatively more crowded.
Factors that can impact how you feel your baby move
When and how you feel those first few kicks from your baby depends on several factors, including:
Your experience as a mother – If you’ve been pregnant before, you’re likely to notice that first “fluttering” sooner in your pregnancy. Early on, it’s kind of a guessing game – it could just be gas. But as the feelings become more defined, you will recognize them as fetal movements.
The position of the placenta – If the placenta is on the front side of the uterus, an extra layer of cushioning will be between your stomach and the baby, so it may take longer to feel movement.
The amount of fluid around the baby – If there is less amniotic fluid, you may not feel your baby move as much.
Your body mass index – Larger women sometimes don’t feel their baby move as early as other women.
Decreases in fetal movements
Many women come to us concerned that they can’t feel their baby move. Remember, it may be 20 weeks or later before you feel those first movements. Once you start to feel movement, my best advice to women is:
Be aware of your baby’s normal movements. If there is a significant change, mention it to your doctor.
Counting fetal kicks at home is one way to check on your baby’s movement habits. Go to a quiet area, lie down, and concentrate on the number of movements you feel. Five movements in an hour, or 10 in a two-hour period, is considered normal.
If the baby is moving less, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Babies do sleep inside the uterus and period of inactivity may just be naptime. However, less movement also can be a sign that there’s less amniotic fluid surrounding the baby or that the placenta is not functioning correctly. So it’s not something to ignore.
If you had been feeling movement but go more than four hours without feeling any movements, it’s time to call your doctor. This is especially concerning if you have a medical complication like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Here at UT Southwestern in Dallas, we are equipped to answer your questions and manage all pregnancies, even when there are complications. For more information about our services, call 214-645-8300 or request an appointment online.
Pregnancy management at EMC Fetal movement test at EMC Medical Clinic
A woman expects many new sensations and emotions during pregnancy. One of the most pleasant moments during this period is the first movements of the baby.
Can you feel him pushing? So he communicates with you, talks about himself.
By how often you feel his movements, you can judge the temperament and his well-being.
To understand if your baby is doing well, you need to regularly, preferably daily, conduct a "fetal movement test", and all that is required for this is to independently observe the baby's movements.
The first movements of the fetus, as a rule, appear at the 20th week of pregnancy, but may appear a little earlier or a little later. Explicit regular movements begin from the 24th week. From now on, the child should remind himself about 10-15 times an hour. Of course, if you do not feel anything for 2-3 hours, it does not mean that something has happened. Maybe the baby is just sleeping. But in general, movements during the day should be regular.
Why is ultrasound and CT not enough?
Ultrasound and CTG are modern effective methods for diagnosing the condition of the fetus, which accurately determine the parameters of blood circulation and heartbeat at a particular moment and are carried out at a certain interval if there are no medical indications for more frequent examination. Therefore, usually at the appointment, the doctor asks the woman a question about whether she noticed changes in the "behavior" of the baby. In case of any changes, the doctor will recommend re-examination.
It is important that by conducting a regular fetal movement test, you constantly keep your unborn child's well-being under control. According to international studies, this not only allows you to identify and prevent possible problems in a timely manner, but also reduces the overall level of anxiety in pregnant women.
What determines the activity of the fetus
Of course, to some extent, the baby's mobility in the mother's womb is influenced by his temperament, but, of course, this is not the main thing. Its activity is largely determined by the following factors:
The volume of physical activity of a pregnant woman. If you lead a fairly active lifestyle during pregnancy, fetal movements may be felt less frequently.
Time of day. Although babies inside the tummy do not make much difference, day or night - they lead an active life when they want - practice proves that they become more active at night.
How to count movements
The most common is the Pearson or "Count to 10" method. You need to take into account any movement of the baby, excluding hiccups - pushes, kicks, flips, etc. But count not the number of movements following each other, but the alternation of rest and activity (both groups of movements and single ones). That is, if the baby first rolled over, then immediately pushed, this is only one movement.
According to the Pearson method, a woman from the 28th week of pregnancy keeps a diary in which, from 9:00 to 21:00 marks the movements of the baby. If in 12 hours there are 10 or more movements, you don’t have to worry - everything is in order with the child. Modern technology allows you to abandon the diary. You can install a special application based on this technique on your smartphone.
There is also a shorter but more rigorous method recommended by the American Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—"Count to 10 in 2 Hours." You yourself choose what time of day the baby is more active, and conduct the test during this period. A sign of good health of the fetus is 10 or more movements recorded in 2 hours.
With any technique, if you cannot count the required number of movements, be sure to consult a doctor!
Fetal movements, what to look out for
There is no strictly defined time when the mother begins to feel movements: especially sensitive women can notice them as early as 15 weeks, but more frequent cases are 18-20 weeks. Primiparous feel the movements, as a rule, a little later than those who give birth for the second or third time.
If there is no movement at 22 weeks, see a doctor and have an ultrasound done to make sure your baby's cardiovascular system is functioning properly.
More often the movements are felt in the evening, before going to bed, in a calm state. At first, they will look like fluttering butterflies or stroking from the inside, and then the baby will work out the movements that he learns, and they will become more distinct. Actively working mothers, driving, busy with their thoughts, may not notice the first movements and start to worry: in this case, you need to have dinner, lie down on the bed and listen to yourself, without being distracted by something else - perhaps the baby is already moving, but Mom doesn't notice.
What determines fetal movement? - closer to full-term, the child seems to be quieter to the mother, although he moves just as often: the fact is that he no longer moves his whole body, but only his limbs; - if the mother does gymnastics, the child becomes quiet - this is normal; - if the mother is in an uncomfortable position or a stuffy room, the child may either quiet down, or vice versa, begin to move actively and painfully - then you need to go out into the fresh air or change your position.
It will be useful to evaluate the nature of the movements, record how many movements the child makes within 2-3 hours, so that in case of significant changes, consult a doctor and make sure that this is a variant of the norm.
When will the baby start moving?
1 August 31, 2012 07:01 PM How long does it take for stomach flutter to start? This is my first pregnancy, the period is still not long at all and I practically don’t feel anything, but I really want something to begin to be felt, to move inside. I read in the literature that the movements begin differently for everyone and for someone they can even be delayed, and someone feels them almost in the first months. It’s still quiet and peaceful in my stomach, sometimes it feels like the child is hiding and biding its time, so it became interesting how approximately the time should be expected to start stirring so as not to listen in vain every minute. And in general, what are they, what are they? Is it possible to confuse the usual rumbling in the stomach with the movements of the unborn child, in what week does he begin to move at all? Nine months is so long, I just want them to fly by, and it's time to give birth, so that the baby is finally born, you can press him, feel him near you, kiss, stroke him. In the meantime, you can stroke and care only for a gradually growing belly, but the husband is very pleased, he really likes the protruding tummy, although it is still very small and almost invisible, but he constantly strokes and takes care of it.
2 September 1, 2012 08:51 PM It all depends on the attachment of the fetus and on the figure of the mother. Skinny girls usually hear movements earlier, as far as I know, maybe after 15 weeks. And fuller mothers may not feel movement until 20-22 weeks.
3 September 2, 2012 10:42 PM Everything is individual. Even with different pregnancies in different ways.
They ask their son in kindergarten: "What do your parents do?" - "Dad works, mom is beautiful !!!"
4 September 7, 2012 10:05 I felt the first movement at about 15 weeks, but I am very thin. The doctor said that it seems to me) But then it only became clearer. so I understand that it was still a stir. And with the second pregnancy and at 14 weeks it was already clear.
But my friend only felt at 21 weeks, but she has extra pounds.
5 September 15, 2012 06:16 PM It began to seem to me that the baby was moving half an hour after the gynecologist confirmed the pregnancy)) But seriously, somewhere around 15-16 weeks I began to feel, then I still doubted the truth, but soon the doubts disappeared)
6 September 20, 2012 11:01 AM I felt at 16 weeks, as if there was some kind of tickling in my stomach. You can’t confuse these sensations with anything else, it feels like fish are swimming in your stomach
7 September 23, 2012 04:23 PM And at first I did not understand that this child was pushing. Only weeks on the twentieth figured out that it was his tremors. The mood immediately lifted. Then they got stronger, in the ninth month it even hurt
8 October 8, 2012 06:51 PM My moves are yet to come). And my little sister felt her niece stir at 13-14 weeks, at first no one even believed her, they thought her imagination was running wild :)
9 October 14, 2012 12:20 pm I felt barely noticeable movements at 14 weeks, the doctor said it was too early, but my baby was somehow attached to the outer wall and I myself am thin. By 16 weeks, I already clearly felt every movement)
10 October 15, 2012 01:22 PM I still don't move though it's only 11 weeks. But I really want to feel that inside someone alive is growing.
11 October 17, 2012 01:32 PM Everything is individual. I didn't feel it early. Weeks at 17 it seems. And in the second pregnancy, they say, in general, they begin to feel the movements earlier.
12 October 17, 2012 07:17 PM Not always in the second pregnancy before. On the contrary, I felt later, I even began to worry.
The most valuable cargo in the world is a baby in the belly!!
13 October 24, 2012 11:39 PM I can't wait, but I don't know how it is? everyone describes differently and says I won’t miss it.
It's easier not to let us in than to kick us out later!
14 November 19, 2012 2:54 AM Such a photo is cool.: D I started moving with the first at 16 weeks, and with the second, earlier, as they say. For some reason, everything happens with the second child earlier than with the first. There is happiness... I know him... I know the color of his eyes, his laugh... And it calls me mom!
15 November 30, 2012 10:24 AM And I didn’t feel any movement during the whole pregnancy, there was polyhydramnios and the child very rarely, very smoothly changed position - and that’s all :). I was just waiting for any such movement as a sign that everything was in order. And I began to feel it at about 20 weeks, although I don’t bother with extra pounds.
16 December 4, 2012 10:39 PM I have a baby. My son started moving around 14-15 weeks. I'm thin myself, I quickly felt it. And I started to notice girls even earlier, very slight movements, but I already knew how it was)
17 December 6, 2012 11:21 AM Somewhere around 18 weeks I began to notice some actions in my stomach, at first I didn’t even think that this was how the baby was moving, somehow not usually. And then yes, gave heat! The most interesting thing is that he calmed down when dad put his hands on his stomach :).
18 December 6, 2012 06:05 PM Quote I WANT A desperate couple to be told: "Congratulations - you will have a baby!" "To elderly parents:" We miss you - Let's go! Get dressed - Mom came for you! At first, I didn’t even understand that it was a baby moving.