When can you feel the baby move?
Feeling your baby kicking for the very first time is such an exciting moment. It is indescribable sensation felt both – physically and emotionally. This movement of your baby is known as "quickening in pregnancy". You will probably feel really excited because this is the first time you will have a real connection with your baby.
If this is your first pregnancy, you will need time to realize that those kicks are your baby’s movements. As time has gone on, you will notice that these movements become stronger and longer – lasting as your baby is growing and changes his position. It is necessary to remember that mother’s emotional and physical state has the direct influence on the baby’s movements. And for any mom the first task is to take care of herself in order to protect her child and to create for him the best conditions. Our article will be very useful for those people who want to be aware of all processes around the child and be ready for taking necessary steps.
The baby starts moving in the womb at around Week 8 of pregnancy. At this time, you will still not be able to feel these movements. They will be still too slight to notice. In the second trimester, it is more likely to feel quickening but it still depends on a few factors. Some women start feeling baby move at 12 weeks or 13 weeks. Most of the women, however, experience fetal movement at approximately 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In the cases of a first pregnancy, quickening usually appears later. Or, at least, first-time moms are not able to identify the movements of the baby. During a next pregnancy the mother already knows what to expect and she might be able to feel the quickening earlier.
Some mothers confuse the baby’s kicks with hunger pains and gas. With the progression of the second trimester, you will start to feel the baby’s movements more frequently. You will get to know better your body and the baby inside it. It will become easier for you to recognize the difference between quickening and other belly rumblings. Then, in the third trimester, the movements of the baby will become very distinct.
Together with the difference between the first-time mothers and the ones who have given birth before, there are other factors which could affect the time to feel quickening:
Feeling the baby move is a different sensation for every mom. For some women, it feels like popcorn popping. For others, quickening feels like a fish is swimming around her belly. During a first pregnancy, these early kicks of the baby may feel fluttery or like a light tapping. With the progression of the pregnancy, the quickening will transform into firm kicks, elbow jabs, and others.
Fetal movements during the pregnancy – is the vital indicator. It makes clear to understand that the child is alive and is growing. But don't panic, if there are no feasible kicks up to the 16th week of the pregnancy. In order to calm down yourself, you can pass the ultrasound to make sure that the pregnancy develops and the baby grows. If there were a lot of quickening at the initial stage, then there were not too much or they stopped, you must immediately consult with a doctor and to pass the examination. Such measures will help to prevent any adverse consequences.
When the baby moves for the first time, the kicks and flutters will appear from time to time. In a few weeks, they will become increasingly strong and regular. You should not expect these kicks to have a specific model – the baby may be very active one day and relatively calm the next one. Still, you should feel some baby movements every day of the third trimester.
Some expecting mothers try to determine the date of the upcoming birth, taking into account the first fetus movement. It is considered that the child begins to show motion activity after the half period of the pregnancy. Actually, people say that in case of adding 20 weeks to the date of the first child kick, we get the expected due date. And of course it has its sense. But! Let’s remember the information we are talking above. Sooner or later, every woman can feel the quickening of her child that depends on her individual characteristics. And this difference may be counted in one, two or even three weeks.
It is almost impossible to determine the date of birth based upon the first fetus movement. It is impossible because of the individual characteristics of every woman and the different gestation course of each pregnancy.
Of course, our grandmothers used this method because there were not any more accurate diagnostic methods. But today you can obtain the precise information during the ultrasound about time you have to be prepared for the hospital.
During pregnancy, babies continue to grow and at some moment they feel the need to stretch their limbs. By the end of your second trimester you will start feeling baby move - punching, kicking and rolling movements from inside of your belly. These movements should not bother you, since they are totally normal and natural.
Sometimes the baby might respond to your emotions, as well as to some noises. Some foods are also able to make your baby more active.
This might sound a little strange but together with the other movements, you might feel also the baby’s hiccups. They will feel different than kicking or movement of the limbs. You will sense the baby’s hiccups more like regular little spasms, taking place inside you.
Get prepared that your baby could have hiccups every day and several times a day. You should not worry, though, because hiccups are not these annoying spasms which they are for the adults. So, your baby will not feel uncomfortable because of them.
Many people consider that the baby’s temper is formed in the tummy. Here is the answer: too flexible toddler is going to be felt immediately. Although, it is not always clear. The baby movements – are very often not the evidences of his temperament, but the signals of his well-being, development and health. Therefore, the pregnant woman has very responsible task: she has to evaluate each step of her toddler in order to understand and feel him. Any deviations from your joint life should be recorded.
The periods of fetal movement will be with different duration and intensity during your pregnancy. Try not to worry about how often your baby will move. It is something quite individual. Every baby has a level of normal fetal activity. At the beginning, the baby movement will be sporadic and you will not know when to expect it. Often, the movements will not be strong enough for you to feel. By the end of the second trimester, his or her kicks should be quite strong and you will feel them for sure.
When the baby is awake, he moves constantly. The most common fetus perturbations, which the future mom feels, are usually in the evenings, at night, and also when it is motionless. This can be explained by the fact that when a woman moves the baby rocks inside her tummy, and he is pleased. But when the future mom lies down or sits, the child is at rest too. But he wants other swings! And he begins to push the mother, telling her that she shouldn't stay too long in one place.
But over time, there will be a mutual understanding between the baby and his mother, and the baby will relax with his mom simultaneously. The child will even have a specific routine. It will be rather useful for the woman to keep a diary in which she will record, when the baby moves and when he sleeps. Because if you notice any failures, you will be able to contact the doctor on time and he will determine if there are no reasons to worry.
Now it is the time when you will probably recognize a regular pattern of the baby kicking and the other movements. Your baby might be most active either during the nighttime hours or during the daytime. You should hope that both of you will sleep at night.
After some time of increased baby’s activity you should be able to notice the specific pattern of the baby’s movements. Pay attention to this model and if you suddenly feel a decrease in the movements, call the doctor immediately.
In case of the multiple pregnancy development, you can feel more motion activity and the kicks more intense. The multiple pregnancies are obvious on the 14th week that is sooner than the singleton gestations. The fetus which is situated near the front wall of the uterus has more strong kicks. In order to count the motion activity, the Sadowsky, Cardiff or Pearson methods are used, but the obtained numbers are multiplied by the number of children in the womb.
When you are in the third trimester of pregnancy you should keep a track of your baby’s movements every day. Consult with your doctor what is the best way to do this.
You might decide to purchase a baby kick recorder, or to count the baby’s movement by yourself. Choose the time of the day in which you feel that your baby is most active. Time with a watch how long it takes to feel ten distinct movements. If you cannot sense ten movements in a period of two hours, contact your doctor as soon as possible. This might be a bad sign for the condition of the baby.
During the day the baby can perform up to 500 different movements. Mostly, it is observed from 28 to 32 weeks. You will not feel all the movements. Their perceptibility is influenced by many factors: the amniotic fluid amount, the abdominal wall thickness, the fetus and placenta location, as well as the child mobility and the pregnant woman sensitivity.
32 weeks witnessed the lower activity and it is possible to determine its location in the uterus, judging on the fetus movement. The baby is growing significantly, but the uterus is in the same state. If your baby is in a breech presentation, you will feel the main tremors in the lower abdomen. If you feel tremors above the navel, your baby is in the cephalic head.
At the end of the last trimester of fetal movement becomes rare, but there are not gone completely. If the mother does not feel any stirs for 12 hours, you have to consult a doctor.
If there is no quickening after the half of your pregnancy has passed, you should definitely consult a doctor. Also, if you are in the third trimester and you have suddenly started feeling less than 10 movements in two hours, you need to go to the hospital immediately.
There are different reasons for reduced fetal movement and not all of them are dangerous for the baby. Still, if you notice a decrease in the baby’s movements, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
These are some of the reasons which might lead to a decreased activity of your baby:
The Baby is Sleeping - babies in the womb also sleep and one sleeping cycle could take between 20 and 40 minutes, but no more than 90 minutes. Usually, the baby moving in the womb stops during the sleep.
You are Stressed or You have a Poor Diet - the intensity of the baby’s movements depends on your condition. When you are stressed, the hormones released by your body can cause the baby to move less intensively for some time. Although you might want to drink fewer liquids because of a frequent need of urination, it is important to stay hydrated. Dehydration could make the baby move less. You need to eat and drink in order you and your baby to be healthy.
Rupture of the Amniotic Sac - the reduced baby movement might also be caused by a leak or rupture in the amniotic sac. The rupture of the membrane, also known as waters breaking, is a normal thing right before delivery. If it happens earlier, this is a quite concerning sign. The amniotic fluid has very important functions for the baby – to keep it stable, warm, and protected. Leaks in the sac lead to fetal stress and to problems with nutrition and oxygen. Infections also become more likely. Ruptures of the amniotic sac and leaks of amniotic fluid could be very dangerous for the baby, so be sure to contact a doctor if the body is moving less.
Abruption of the Placenta - placental abruptions might be very dangerous for the baby and need to be treated immediately. A surgery is sometimes enough to repair the damage. Other options are an induced labor and a delivery by cesarean section. These methods could be used if the pregnancy has progressed enough.
Fetal Hypoxia - if the umbilical cord does not succeed to supply the baby with enough oxygenated blood to the baby, this condition is called fetal hypoxia. It could be a fatal condition since it could have long-term effects on the brain and the overall development of the baby. Fetal hypoxia might occur if the umbilical cord gets kinked or twisted or if it was poorly formed. If the baby suddenly feels a sudden dip in oxygen, this will usually slow or stop the fetal movements.
If you notice any changes in the movements of your baby, be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible. This might prevent serious complications and save the life of your baby.
Too severe lethargy or turbulence the baby’s movements in most cases indicates the oxygen starvation. There are various causes of hypoxia: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, fetal malformations and other reasons. In order to identify the disease, it is necessary conduct an ultrasound or cardiotocography.
The cardiotocography procedure is a survey of the heartbeat. For one hour the device measures the heart rate of your baby. The norm is considered to be changing the rhythm changes from 120 to 160 beats per minute. In case of the severe hypoxia, the level decreases to 90 beats. If the detection of this disease is in the stage of pregnancy more than 30 weeks, the woman will be performed with a cesarean section.
In order to detect such violations without such procedure, the pregnant needs to use the technique "Count to 10". Since 28 week, in the period from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., a woman should count the perturbations. Every tenth perturbation should be recorded in a special card. If within 12 hours the number of kicks is greater than 15, or on the contrary, the fetus is inactive, it is necessary to consult with a specialist.