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Fetal Movements: What Should I Know About Baby Kicks?

June 20, 2022
Virtual Gynecology

One of the exciting moments expecting mothers look forward to is when their baby starts kicking. These baby kicks help moms bond with the life growing inside them and track the growth of their babies. 

When should I start feeling the baby move?

Usually, you should feel the first fetal movement, also known as quickening, around weeks 18 to 22. Depending on your pregnancy, it may be sooner or later than that. You may feel them as late as the twenty-sixth week if it's your first pregnancy. In subsequent pregnancies, you may feel them as early as the thirteenth to fourteenth week.

How and when you feel your baby's first movements depends on different factors. These include may include your weight, position of the placenta, etc.

What do baby kicks feel like?

Different women feel their baby's movements differently. Pregnant women have described their baby's kicks as a flutter, a nudge, a twitch, a tumbling motion or roll, gas bubbles, a tickle, hunger pangs, or waves.

As the baby grows, the movements become stronger and can feel like a punch, jab, or kick, especially in the 6th and 7th months of pregnancy. 

Towards the middle and end of the third trimester, you may feel your baby turning and wiggling.

How often should I feel my baby's movements?

In your first trimester, you may feel movements, especially flutters, occasionally. However, you should feel more rhythmic, frequent, and stronger movements towards the end of the second trimester. By the third trimester, you can feel your baby move about 30 times or more in an hour.

Babies can also be active at certain times. This doesn't necessarily mean you have a super active baby. You may feel your baby kicks more when you are nervous, are about to go to bed, have just eaten, or when it has hiccups. Your baby can also respond to sound or touch. 

Should I monitor my baby's movements?

Yes, you should. Usually, a baby's movements are well established early in the third trimester. By week 26 to 28, you can start a fetal movement counting or fetal movement assessment. This means keeping track of your baby's kicks, punches, and jabs. Obstetricians often recommend this to know if your baby is still growing as it should.

If you are pregnant with twins or more babies, doing a fetal movement count may be difficult. You may get confused as to which baby is moving.

Keep in mind that there are times your baby might be calm and not move so much. Don't be worried. To keep track of your baby's movements, pick a time your baby is most active, get into a comfortable position, and count how long it takes to make ten movements. Usually, you should count at least ten movements in 2 hours. Chart your measurements each time.

If your baby is not moving as often as they should, or you can't feel ten movements in 2 hours despite a trigger such as eating a snack, contact your doctor or health care provider.

What should I do if I don't feel my baby moving? 

You may not be able to distinguish your baby's movements in time. So, if you haven't reached week 25 and you do not feel your baby move or cannot describe what you are feeling, don't be worried. 

Also, some babies move less frequently than others, and some only get active when something makes them. There are times they may be asleep or have lesser room to move around, especially towards the end of your pregnancy.

However, if you notice that your baby's movements have significantly reduced or you do not feel at least ten movements in 2 hours, call your doctor.

What we can help you do

A visit to us helps you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. Do you have questions about your baby's movements? Do they seem too much, or have they significantly reduced? At My Virtual Physician, we are available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise.

We are in network with many insurance health plans, including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

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