Quickening: Counting kicks and other fetal movements

The first fetal movements are called quickening and are often described as flutters.  Some moms can feel their babies move as early as 13-16 weeks from the start of their last period, although it may be difficult to determine whether this feeling is gas or your baby’s movements. After some time, if you pay attention, you may begin to notice a pattern. Some moms, especially those in their first pregnancy, may not feel movement until 18-20 weeks. Remember that each woman and each pregnancy is different, with the first detection of movement ranging from 13-25 weeks.

Why does my baby move?

Would you like to stay curled up in one position for nine months? Your baby likes to stretch her limbs and c change positions too! As you get further along in your pregnancy, you will begin to feel more obvious movements, such as kicking, punching, and rolling. Your baby may also move as she responds to noise or to your emotions. She may squirm if your position is uncomfortable for her. Certain foods you eat might also cause your baby feel active, and some women even notice a sleeping/waking cycle. And of course some babies like to get moving just as mom is trying to fall asleep (it’s good practice for after birth!)

How often should my baby move?

Some care providers suggest keeping track of how often your baby moves each day. This is easy to do because most of us just sit around all day with a pen and paper waiting for a flutter or a kick, so we can record it on our little chart.  Seriously!! What are they thinking?  Choosing a specific time of the day to count movements is slightly more practical:

Beginning with week 28, it is beneficial to begin counting your baby’s movements. This will help you to identify potential problems and can also be a great bonding experience between you and your baby. Using a kick count chart can be very helpful. When counting your baby’s movements choose the same time each day. It might be easiest to lie on your left side and record how long it takes to feel 10 movements. For further information about recording movements see kick counts.

Sometime in the third trimester you may notice that your baby’s movements are more frequent and vigorous and occur in a regular pattern. Then movements may start to decrease after week 32 as your baby grows bigger and is more restricted in the uterus.

What should I do if I don’t feel my baby moving?

If you have been keeping a chart of your baby’s movements and you notice a significant deviation in the pattern, contact your health care provider. If you do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, try again later that day. If you still do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Source: American Pregnancy Org.

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