Fetal Movements And Baby Kick Counts (What To Expect)
You’ll never forget the first time you feel your baby kick.
It takes you by surprise and makes you feel excited, scared, nervous, and happy—all at once.
Unless you experience it first hand, it’s pretty hard to describe it accurately because it’s simply amazing.
I remember the first moment I felt those butterfly flutters.
I was enjoying a movie with my feet elevated.
It was the most precious, gentle thing I could have ever imagined.
But, months later, my son’s movements were more monster-like, and with a purpose.
There was certainly nothing gentle about them. It was quite a party in my womb!
If you’re pregnant for the first time, it can be pretty difficult to know what to expect.
Read on to learn all about fetal movements and kick counts so you can not just enjoy the experience, but actually monitor your baby’s growth and activity rate in your womb.
When To Count Baby Kicks
When counting your baby's kicks, remember that movement will occur at various rates in different trimesters.
During the first trimester you won’t feel much.
If you’ve been pregnant before, you may feel something called “quickening” as soon as 13 weeks.
But, women who are experiencing their first pregnancy usually don’t feel these flutter-like movements until 16 weeks (and as late as 25 weeks).
By the end of your second trimester, your baby will be full-fledge kicking, elbowing, turning, and hiccuping.
Closer to the end of your pregnancy, your baby’s movements will slow down a bit, but you’ll still be feeling something. This is when and why doctors advise you to count baby kicks.
At around 28 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will want you to make sure your baby gets 10 kicks in in less than two hours.
If you’re in a high risk pregnancy, they’ll recommend you start counting kicks closer to 24 weeks.
How To Count Baby Kicks
Counting baby kicks is pretty simple.
Doctors advise women to lie on their left side and focus on rolls, kicks, or flutters.
Keep a chart next to you and record the number of minutes it takes you to feel your baby move 10 times.
It’s suggested that you do this three times a day at this point and to keep in mind that babies are more active in the evening (after dinner).
How Often Should Baby Move?
Earlier in your pregnancy, it’s normal to feel infrequent movements.
But by the third trimester, the baby should move at least 30 times each hour.
What Do Kicks Feel Like?
When you’re early on in your pregnancy, movements can feel like a butterfly fluttering in your tummy.
It can also feel like a twinge of nervousness, or even a tumbling motion.
Often times, first movements are confused with gas, hunger, or other naturally occurring internal movements.
Toward the end of your second trimester, there’s no mistake when it comes to movements.
You’ll be kicked, punched, elbowed—and strongly!
Don’t be surprised if you actually want the little limbs to move from side to side as you view your bare belly. It can be quite entertaining!
What To Do If Movement Decreases
Your movement will decrease a bit toward the end of your pregnancy.
But, that’s why doctors will want you to start counting how often you feel your baby. If your movement decreases, call your doctor right away.
There is such a thing called Reduced Fetal Movement.
Your baby’s movement may become weaker because they start to develop a sleep cycle. Sometimes, it can last anywhere from 40 minutes to one hour long.
Also, when you get closer the your 38th week, your baby starts to drop and their head moves into your pelvis.
When this occurs, they won’t be moving much at all. Feel free to drink a large, icy cup of water and give your baby a few minutes to see if that wakes them up.
Shifting around in different positions may also cause them to move more frequently.
Generally, reduced movement is usually not a cause for concern at this point in your pregnancy, but should be checked out with your doctor.
If it occurs in the midst of your pregnancy, it could signal that your little one could be in trouble and needs immediate medical attention.
Never be afraid to call your doctor and ask!
Becoming a mom is exciting but scary.
From day one, you want to protect your baby.
One way you can make sure they are growing and developing properly is by keeping track of their kicks and movements.
Be sure to follow the suggestions above in order to track your baby properly.
When in doubt, call for medical help—it’s better to be safe than sorry.