Wondering when you’ll start feeling those first joyful baby kicks every pregnant mom looks forward to — and what it will be like? Here are nine things to know about your baby’s fetal movement. Get ready. You’re in for one of the best parts of pregnancy!
You won’t feel anything until the second trimester.
The second trimester is known as the “good trimester” for a reason. Not only has the queasiness and fatigue of the first trimester subsided for most, it’s also when the fun part begins: baby kicks! Most expectant moms begin to feel their babies move around month 4 or 5, typically between weeks 18 and 22. That said, everyone is different, so try to relax if your pregnant co-worker is feeling her tiny gymnast at week 14 and you’re not. Typically speaking, veteran moms and women who are thinner feel fetal movement on the earlier side. The position of your placenta can play a role too. If yours happens to be front-facing, it may stifle your little one’s kicks for a bit longer.
You may miss baby’s first moves.
There’s a reason pregnant women have a hard time describing what those first movements feel like: They’re easy to miss! Baby’s first “kicks” don’t feel like sharp jabs or karate chops (that’s coming soon), but instead more like an inner fluttering or that butterfly feeling you get in your tummy when you’re nervous. For some, it may feel like little waves. No doubt, you’ll be eager to feel your baby move more after you notice that first little nudge — and don’t worry, that’s just around the corner. When your little one’s arms and legs are finally in proportion at around week 21, she’ll be packing a much more powerful punch.
Fetal movement is pretty erratic in the beginning.
In other words, don’t freak out if you’re not consistently feeling a baby dance party in your belly right off the bat. In the early weeks of the movement or “quickening”, as it’s often referred to, it’s not uncommon for moms-to-be to go one, two, or even three days without feeling anything. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll be hearing from — or feeling — your baby several times a day.
Your baby will be more active at certain times of the day (and night) …
Once you’re further along in your pregnancy, you’ll likely begin to notice specific times when your baby is up and at ‘em. For instance, when you’ve settled down for the night and are more aware of your body, you’ll probably feel your baby moving around more. Your little kicker also may pick up the pace after you’ve had a snack, or when you’re nervous and your adrenaline has given her a jolt of energy.
… And less active at others.
In your third trimester, lulls in activity often simply mean your baby is sleeping. Some women also tend to notice a decrease in fetal movement after having sex, as the rocking motion and uterine contractions that come with an orgasm often send babies off to dreamland. That said, it’s crucial to report any changes in activity — particularly decreases — to your doctor.
Kicking isn’t the only thing your baby is doing in there.
Not only is your tiny dancer kicking, she’s also punching, rolling, flipping, wiggling and stretching. And that’s not all. On occasion, you may notice a rhythmic, fluttering pattern coming from inside your tummy. When that happens, there’s a good chance your little one has a case of the hiccups. While it may feel a little bizarre, you can relax (mentally, at least) knowing that hiccups in utero are completely harmless and aren’t causing any pain or discomfort for baby.
When the kicking gets uncomfortable, switch it up.
While the flutters and tickles of the second trimester may have brought nothing but a smile to your face, the jabs and lunges that come with baby’s increase in size can get downright unpleasant at times. If you’re looking to take a breather from being your baby’s personal punching bag, try switching positions. If you’re standing, have a seat or lie down. Hopefully, your pint-sized boxer will get the message.
Get things going with a snack or some juice.
Fun party trick alert: You can actually coax your baby into moving, despite the fact that you haven’t yet met face-to-face. A small snack or a cup of fruit juice should rouse your docile baby and get things going, thanks to the spike in your blood sugar. This also is key for when you feel like you haven’t heard of the baby in a while later in your pregnancy.
You may be told to count baby’s kicks.
Once you hit week 28, your practitioner may advise you to keep track of your baby’s movements once or twice a day. When you have some quiet time in either the morning or evening, look at the clock and start counting every time you feel your baby move, kick or flutter. When you reach 10, stop counting and notice the amount of time that’s gone by. Ideally, you want to see 10 or more movements in an hour or less. If you see less, have a snack or some fruit juice and take note again. If it takes longer than two hours to reach 10, let your doctor or midwife know. While this may not mean anything is wrong with the baby, it may be something that requires an evaluation. And again, you should always contact your healthcare provider if you notice a sudden decrease in movement.
Like most things pregnancy, baby’s fetal movement is bound to elicit loads of joy, a little anxiety, and some discomfort. It’s important to always trust your body and intuition and report any unusual changes to your doctor. And think of it this way: If you can handle a tiny foot jabbing you in the ribs at 2 a.m., you’re well on your way to becoming a parent!