When will I first feel my baby move?
When should you expect to feel your baby kick for the first time during pregnancy and what will it be like?
Feeling your baby move is one of those milestone moments in your pregnancy - except sometimes the feelings are so faint you're not sure if you have or haven't felt anything.
So when should I start to feel my baby move?
The first time you feel movement in your stomach varies from baby to baby. “Most women start to feel their baby kick between 18 to 20 weeks. If it's your second or third baby, this may be earlier - around 15 weeks. Other women are past the 20-week mark before they feel anything, and that’s normal, too.
So you may have had your 20 week scan and seen your baby move around on the monitor, but it doesn’t mean you'll necessarily feel them too.
Sometimes the position of your placenta can affect when you'll start to feel your baby's movements. If you have an anterior placenta, which means your placenta is positioned at the front wall of your womb, this may cushion your baby's kicks, so delaying the feelings for you.
What exactly will my baby’s movements feel like?
Your baby’s earliest movements are sometimes called quickening’s, they can be very small and slight and easily confused for wind or hungry tummy gurgling’s. Some women report early movements feeling like butterflies or a little bubbling fish and often they are only picked up at first when you are sat quietly as they are easily missed when you are busy or out and about. As your baby grows their movements become bigger and more pronounced so feeling movements will become much more obvious.
When will my partner be able to feel my baby move?
Again, this varies, but is often a couple of weeks after you start to feel movements yourself if they patiently place their hand on your abdomen during an active period for your baby.
How regularly should I feel my baby move?
There’s no ‘correct’ frequency, as it’s different for every woman.
Mums-to-be used to be asked to keep a record of the number of movements their baby did each day, but this is not an accurate way to monitor your baby’s wellbeing as the number will vary for every baby. The recommended way to monitor movements is to consider your baby’s normal pattern or routine of movements and to monitor that instead. Any change to their pattern then you should call your midwife or local hospital without delay, even if it is in the middle of the night as a reduction in movements or pattern change can be your baby signalling they are unwell and the sooner that is picked up the better.
Is there anything I can do to encourage my baby to move?
Try having a really cold drink and laying still for 15 minutes, ideally on your left side or changing your position to encourage movement. Ensuring you have eaten and drunk enough is important as low sugar levels or dehydration will also impact your baby, and trying a position change is a helpful idea but ultimately don’t delay seeking advice from your midwife or local unit if your baby’s movements are reduced.
Why are my baby’s movement important?
Feeling your baby move is one of the ways you know your baby is fine. If your baby’s movement pattern changes, it may possibly indicate that something isn't right and time to contact your midwife. It can be helpful to keep a mental note of your baby’s regular movements, so you know if something changes. If you think about a time when you have been unwell, you were unlikely to decide to jump and run about because you were focused on conserving your energy perhaps snuggled up on the sofa. It is a similar thing for your baby and if they are unwell they will also conserve energy by moving less.
I’m not feeling anything at all. Do all women feel their baby kicking?
Despite what we've just said, not all women do feel their baby kicking, due to the position of the placenta. If your placenta is at the front of your bump – what’s known as anterior – this may cushion your baby’s movements so that you don’t feel them until later on in your pregnancy and, even then, not much at all. Your sonographer will be able to advise you on the position of your placenta at each scan. It does mean that monitor movements is more tricky but it is always best to be on the safe side and be checked over if your concerned over movements and not assume it is the position of your placenta.
Kicks Count is a UK charity that aims to inform mums about the importance of their baby's movements, advises that if you haven’t felt your baby kick by week 24, then contact your midwife and she will arrange a scan for you.
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