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Fetal Movement: Feeling Baby Kicks

Updated: Feb 23

One of the most exhilarating experiences in one’s pregnancy is feeling your baby move for the very first time. It all becomes real, that there is really a baby in there! Later on you might get used to feeling your baby moving around in your body. However, it’s good to keep tabs on your baby’s movement especially during the 3rd trimester. That way, if you notice a drop-off in the fetal movements, you can notify your health care provider for further evaluation

When does fetal movement start?

Most women feel the first movement of their baby, known as quickening between 16 and 22 weeks of their pregnancy. However, every pregnancy is unique. There is no set “Right” time to feel your fetal movement, and you may feel flutters even earlier than 16 weeks or a little later than 22 weeks.

Early movements might be hard to recognize or even describe. It may feel like a flutter or waves. It could even feel like a nudge, twitch or even the growling of hunger pangs or that upside-down, inside-out feeling you get on a roller coaster. Regardless what your experience with your baby first movement turns out to be like, relish such moments as you get to figure out what’s going on

Fetal Movement in the 2nd and 3rd trimester

Your baby’s movement during 2nd trimester can be a little unpredictable. You’ll feel those fluttery movements which can start early in the 2nd trimester or might show up a little later on.

Later on you’ll start feeling those fetal movements a little more frequently and more intensely. As your baby gets larger, the movements will get larger too and you may start to feel some stretches and maybe even some kicks and punches.

In the 3rd trimester, you may notice some patterns in your baby’s movement. Perhaps your baby will be more active at certain times of the day or night. The movements may seem larger and more vigorous, and you may occasionally let out a sigh after a particularly enthusiastic kick or punch.

Decreased Fetal Movements

There comes a time in your pregnancy when your baby starts to run out of room to wiggle around in the uterus. This could be because your baby is gaining weight. It could also mean that your baby can’t stretch and move quite freely anymore. Your baby might not be moving as much as you would expect, thus doing kick counts may help you keep track of your baby’s movement to ensure they are okay

How to count your Baby’s kick

  1. Set aside some time twice a day to count kicks. You can do one in the morning when the fetal kicks tend to be less frequent, and another in the more active evening hours, when there is usually an increase in the baby’s movement

  2. Check the clock and start counting. Count movements of any kind (flutters, fetal kicks, rolls) stop counting when you reach 10, and note the time

  3. 10 movements of any kind in an hour or less is normal, though sometimes it might take longer

  4. If you haven’t felt movements within an hour, have a snack or drink something sweet then continue counting. If it takes more than 2 hours to reach 10 movements, contact your healthcare provider. Sometimes the absence of activity doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong, however it might be a red flag that needs quick evaluation or monitoring

The closer you are to your due date, the more important regular checking of your fetal movement becomes. Do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you note a sudden decrease in your fetal movement

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