When & Why You Feel Your Baby Move

One of the milestones in the life of a mother is the first movement of your baby when still in the womb. You may be eager to feel your baby move during the early weeks following your last period but you should not worry too much if you are not feeling your baby move too much in the first weeks of your pregnancy. Each woman is different and you will only feel your baby move when they have reached the right size to flex, stretch, and push against your uterus.

Waiting for the quickening

The first few weeks of your pregnancy can be a stressful time as you wait to move from the first trimester to the safer period of the second. One of the events you will be waiting for is to feel your baby move for the first time. When you first attend the offices of your doctor they will be able to notice and record the small movements of your baby even when you cannot feel them. The problems you have prior to around week 12 is the small size of your baby in the larger space of your womb which allows a large amount of space for your baby to move around without the mother noticing.

It is usual for a woman not to feel her baby moving in the womb for the first three months following your last period. However, sometime between week 12 and week 16 of your pregnancy, you will feel your baby move for the first time when they reach around one pound in weight. This is known as the Quickening and will usually feel as though you have butterflies in your stomach and not appear as a major kick or push from inside your body.

Factors affecting the moment when you feel the quickening include:

  • The size of your baby
  • The position of your uterus
  • How many pregnancies you have had before

Your pregnancy history can affect when you feel movement

The arrival of the quickening can be affected by the number of pregnancies you have undergone in the past. If this is the first pregnancy you may not feel your baby move until sometime between weeks 18 and 22 when your body will allow you to feel the movement. In your second or further pregnancies, you will usually be able to feel your baby move far earlier than a woman expecting her first child. By the time of your second pregnancy, you may be able to feel your baby shifting around inside your body as early as week 12. Some women have reported feeling the movement of their baby as early as week 11 during their second pregnancy.

How does it feel when your baby moves

When you feel your baby move for the first time you will feel a sensation similar to that of nerves or butterflies in your stomach. In many cases, you may not be able to tell the difference between the growing level of gas in your body moving around or the first time you feel your baby move in your womb. As your baby grows and becomes better able to move limbs around the sensations you feel will change with movements far more distinct as your baby moves more and becomes larger in the womb.

You may be eager to share the feeling of your baby moving with your partner and others in your close circle of family and friends. This can be a difficult thing to do as you feel your baby move far earlier than those who are hoping to feel movement from the outside. We have all heard the stories from our friends of the shape of feet, arms, and other body parts being seen on the stomach of an expectant mother. However, this does not usually happen until around the start of the third trimester when your baby is the perfect size to move in your womb. Between weeks 24 and 28 you will usually be able to share how you feel when your baby moves inside from the outside.

What affects the movement of your baby

Some women have reported they can eat certain foods and feel their baby move more which is something you may experience yourself. You may notice your baby moves a little more after you have eaten a meal or drunk a cup of coffee. This is a simple issue to explain as you will be feeling the movement of your baby as it is affected by caffeine or a sugary dessert. Your baby is sharing your food and drinks and you feel your baby move more when you eat and drink these items.

The same issue is often raised when you settle down to relax for the night after a long day at work or at home. The perception of most women is that you feel your baby move more often during the evening and at night when you are simply hoping to relax. The majority of medical experts do not believe this is the case that your baby is becoming more active throughout the night but you are more relaxed and moving less. You may feel your baby move more during the evening and night as this is the time of each day when you are no longer distracted by work and other activities.

Movement slow down

One of the main worries for the majority of women is there baby no longer moving as they move through their pregnancy. If you do not feel your baby move by week 22 of any pregnancy you should contact your medical professional and report the fact. A checkup from your doctor will help you to understand what is going on within your body.

As an expectant mother, you will feel your baby moving in your womb throughout your pregnancy as your baby moves to create strong bones and joints by flexing and stretching. However, as you move into the latter stages of your pregnancy you will begin to notice your baby may not be moving as much. There are simple explanations for most changes you feel as you pass through the different stages of your pregnancy, including the fact your baby is larger in the last weeks of your pregnancy. The amount of room you have available to allow your baby to move has been reduced and your baby may not shift as much as in the past.

Should you contact your doctor?

If you are feeling nervous or concerned about the amount of movement you are feeling from your baby you should contact your doctor and make sure everything is moving forward safely with your pregnancy. A good option many doctors recommend for their patients is for you to keep notes to track the movements you feel from your baby. If you are concerned about whether you feel your baby move effectively you can follow the advice of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who recommend you settle down in a comfortable position. If you wish to put your mind at ease about the movements of your baby, you should record movements over a two-hour period. In the latter stages of your pregnancy, your baby should make movements you can feel at least ten times over the course of this two-hour period.