Feeling your baby kicking is one of the most important moments of pregnancy. But when can you feel your baby move and what does baby movement feel like? The truth is, baby kicks are more like palpitations at first, and you may not feel your baby move until halfway through the pregnancy. But in the third trimester, your baby will make some big movements that cannot be ignored.
When can you feel the baby's movement?
Even if your baby starts moving around week 7 or 8, you probably won't feel their kicks until around week 16 to 22. (If you've had an ultrasound before, you may have witnessed the aerobatic moves.)
Senior moms tend to notice these first-time kicks, also known as "speeding," earlier than first-time moms because if you've been pregnant before, it's easier to distinguish your baby's kicks from other tummy tucks (like gas).
Your build may have something to do with when you can distinguish a left blow from hunger: Thin women tend to feel the movement sooner and more often. By the time you can feel your baby moving, it will probably take a few more weeks for your partner to feel the baby kicks.
How your baby's movement feels.
Women described the early sensation as a feeling like popping popcorn, a goldfish swimming around, or fluttering butterflies. You may think that the first light touches or bloating in your stomach is gas, but once you start to feel them more regularly, you will notice the difference.
When you reach the third trimester, you can't ignore your baby's punches, rolls and kicks. As you get older, you may see a pointed elbow or knee moving over your stomach, or you may feel a full tumble.
How often should you feel your baby kicking?
At first, noticeable kicks will be minimal. You may feel a few movements one day and none the next. Although your baby is moving and kicking regularly, most of his movements are not yet as strong as you can feel. But these reassuring kicks will become stronger and more regular in the late second trimester or early third trimester.
Don't worry if your experience is different from your friends. Every baby has their own pattern of activity, and as long as your baby's normal activity level doesn't drop, chances are they're doing well.
Need to follow your baby's kicks?
When you feel kicks regularly, pay attention to how often your baby moves, and let your healthcare provider know right away if you notice your baby's activity level slowing down.
Less movement in the third trimester may indicate a problem, and your provider may want you to have a stress test, an ultrasound measurement of the amniotic fluid, and possibly a biophysical profile to make sure all is well. (You can also have these tests as a routine part of your antenatal care if you have a high-risk pregnancy.)
Some providers recommend taking some time each day to count your baby's kicks in the third trimester. There are many ways to do this, so ask your provider for specific instructions.
Your provider may suggest that you choose a day when your baby tends to be active. (Ideally, you'll want to do the counts at roughly the same time each day.) Then sit quietly or lie down on your side and time how long it takes to feel 10 different movements (kicks, elbow strikes, and full-body movements). all count. Call your healthcare provider if you don't feel 10 movements within two hours.
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