Fetal Movement-- Baby Kicking

image001 One of the best parts of pregnancy is feeling your baby kicking. Feeling that motion makes it abundantly clear that soon, you will have a lovely newborn! But fetal movement can also be concerning, because many mothers don’t know what is normal and what is not. Is your baby active enough? Is there a particular fetal movement that you should feel but is not happening yet? And what should you do if you aren’t even sure what fetal movement feels like?

During the first trimester, your baby is growing fast. But feeling fetal movement at this early stage is almost impossible. That’s because your baby has a great deal of room in the womb, and besides that, he or she is far too small to make any movements that get your attention. Even if you have twins – or triplets! – you aren’t going to feel a thing…yet.

When Can You Feel Baby Kicking?

But then the second trimester rolls around, and things definitely get rolling, so to speak. Some women can feel fetal movement as early as four months, but if you don’t, no worries – most women can definitely feel the movement during the fifth month of pregnancy. But keep in mind that at this stage, you are likely to feel the occasional kick or swirl in your belly, and then nothing for hours or even days. By the sixth month, that all changes, and you will feel your little one quite often.

During the last trimester, get ready for near-constant movement – especially after you go to bed for the night! Now that things are getting a little cramped in there, sometimes those fetal movements might actually be a bit uncomfortable. But it’s still an enjoyable sensation, because it means your baby will be here very soon.

What Does Baby Kicking Feel Like?

Fetal movement feels very strange, but often wonderful. Some compare it to popcorn popping in your belly, or butterflies dancing around. Others say it feels like waves, or small gas pains, or even little taps. During the later months, some mothers compare it to the kicking of a little ninja kitten – how cute!

Here’s more information on what baby kicking might feel like, and what you should do at certain stages:

Fetal Movement During Pregnancy

Stage

How Does It Feel?

2nd trimester

At about five months, you will be able to feel the first “pops” and “taps” of your baby saying hello. At this point, just sit back and enjoy the feeling.

Month Seven

At this point, your baby is rocking and rolling in there! Expect to feel it every day. Count the kicks twice a day, and expect to feel at least ten kicks an hour. If you don’t feel that, have some fruit juice to pep things up, then count again. If you don’t feel ten movements in every 2 hours, talk to your doctor.

Month Eight

Things are getting tighter, and sometimes fetal movement can actually be uncomfortable. Continue to count the kicks as normal. You might notice that your baby has settled into a sleep and waking schedule, and that’s great. The kicks won’t be sharp anymore, since there isn’t enough room, but the movements will be big – like rolling over in the womb.

Month Nine

At this point, your baby is moving a lot. And so are you, trying to get into a comfortable position without a little knee in your kidneys or a foot against your ribs (ouch!). Pay close attention to your baby’s activity, and let your doctor know if anything changes.

How Often Does the Baby Kick?

During the second trimester, when things really start to move, your baby will move much more eagerly and frequently. You might even feel your baby moving about 30 times an hour! But keep in mind that your baby will soon fall into a sleep and wake schedule that could be pretty predictable. Of course, the most active time of the day happens to be at night for most, right when you are ready to go to sleep. That’s probably because you are done moving around for the day, and there is no gentle movement to lull the baby to sleep. It might also be because of fluctuating blood sugar levels that gives the little one a burst of energy. Babies can also respond to sounds or touches, and will become more active when you talk to them, play music, and do physical activity.

Why Should I Monitor Fetal Movement?

You should always keep track of your baby’s fetal movement because baby kicking is a very good indication of how things are going in there. An active baby is usually a healthy one, and that can give you peace of mind. Once you begin paying attention to fetal movements, there is an added bonus: you might be able to chart the times when the baby is asleep and awake, and if you need more sleep, you can adjust to that new schedule.

What If I Don’t Feel My Baby Kicking?

You should feel your baby kick at least ten times per hour. If it’s during a time when the baby is sleeping, you might feel less. That’s why you should have a bit of juice to “wake him up” and feel the movements. If you don’t feel the proper number of movements within an hour after the second try, it’s time to call the doctor. Your doctor might want to listen to the heartbeat or do an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay in there.

In the later months, a sudden lack of movement might be cause for concern. If this happens, call the doctor immediately and ask for guidance.