Fetal Movement

Your baby will start moving in the womb at 7 or eight weeks, however you won't be able to feel him kick until sometime between 16 and 22 weeks. Women who have been pregnant before are more likely to notice the first subtle kicks (called quickening) earlier than new moms because they have experience telling Baby's movements apart form other belly rumblings. Thinner women also tend to feel movement earlier than women who carry more weight.

At first Baby's movements will feel few and far between, and it will also be random as to when you feel them. There may be days when Baby is kicking up a storm and other days when you don't feel any movement. Despite the way it seems though, Baby is moving and kicking regularly. However, her jabs are not yet strong enough for you to feel. Later in the second trimester, Baby's movements will develop more of a regular pattern.

Fetal kicks have been described as feeling like gas, butterflies, popcorn popping, or a fish swimming around. You are m ore likely to feel early movements when you are having quiet time, and it will be easier to tell the first gentle taps apart from hunger pains of gas as you start to feel them more regularly.

Monitoring Baby's Movement

Once you've started feeling kicks and other movements regularly, contact your doctor right away if you notice a decrease in Baby's movement.

Once you're in the third trimester, your doctor may recommend doing "kick counts," or spending some time each day counting kicks, jabs, position changes, etc. To do this, choose a time of day when Baby is normally active, and perform the activity at the same time each day. Sit quietly or lay on your side and take not of Baby's movement. Time how long it takes you to feel ten distinct movements. If you don't feel ten movements in two hours, stop counting and call your midwife or doctor.

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