Feeling your baby’s first kick is an amazing experience and cannot be expressed in words. Baby’s kick is his own way to make his presence felt. It is in the second trimester (around 16 to 22 weeks) that you may start feeling your woogly woosh kicking though the baby starts kicking from 7-8 weeks onwards. If you are a first time mother, you may not feel the baby making any movements till 25th week, but experienced mothers start feeling the baby flutters as early as 13 weeks.
In medical jargon, this is termed as ‘quickening’ and is more easily noticed by second-time moms. That is because first time expecting ladies confuse it with tummy rumblings or gas and cannot really figure out the difference between the two. Your physical build is also an important factor in determining when you will feel your baby’s first kick. Thin women perceive the movement earlier than the sturdy ad overweight ones.
What Does A Baby’s Kick Feel Like?
Well, you must be baffled as to how the kick feels like? Many women have summed up feelings of baby kicks like a tiny fish swimming gently, nervous twitches, butterflies fluttering or popcorn popping up. It is like a soft tender tap or whisper within your belly. You will realize the difference between baby’s kick and gas or hunger pangs only after you start feeling the kick in second trimester of pregnancy. If you are into comparing this with other women, please keep in mind that every baby is different and every mother may interpret baby kicks differently.
How Often Do You Feel Baby Kicks In The Womb?
In the beginning there will be long intervals and the kicks will be few, but within a week or so both the frequency as well as the intensity increases. Also, since the baby is small, a lot of his movement may not produce significant effect on you, and you may not feel it constantly, though the baby is almost enjoying his space every now and then.
Every baby has his distinctive pattern of movement and differs from others. Some babies also move a little less compared to others. All you have to do is to take care of the movements your baby makes. Nothing to worry as long as your baby is moving frequently and you can perceive the movements.
When Does The Baby Kick In The Womb?
As it is, babies tend to be more active after you have had a meal or snacked on something nice. They are known to practice their acrobatics after 9 pm and till 1 am – the slot after dinner when all you really want is to sleep peacefully. A calm and patient body that is relaxed will be able to feel baby kicking more easily. The first few times will make you want more, and then you’d really like the baby to slow down a bit and give you some rest.
How Does The Baby’s Movements Change As The Pregnancy Progresses?
As the pregnancy advances, the baby’s jerks or jolts can get stringer and you may feel uncomfortable sometimes. The kicks are usually most easily felt in the mid and later part of the second trimester.
In the third trimester, the growing baby occupies most of the uterine space and the kicks are not as felt or perceived as in the second trimester. The baby has lesser space to kick and move about, yet he should be making atleast 10 movements in a time span of two hours. If you feel the baby is not making atleast 10 movements in every two hours, quit counting and call your doctor.
Tracking The Baby Kicks In The Third Trimester
You should pay attention to the kicks and immediately inform the doctor, if in case you feel any decrease in the activity level of your baby. The formula generically followed is atleast 10 movements in a period of 2 hours. The doctor may advice you NST or non-stress test along with an ultrasound and assessment of amniotic fluid to determine the health status of your baby.
Counting The Baby Kicks In The Third Trimester
In your third trimester, your doctor will ask you to keep a record of baby’s kicks as it is important for assessing the baby’s activity and development.
You can find out the time when the baby’s is most active and start counting his kicks every day at the same time. You can lie on your either side of sit at a quite place to avoid disturbances. Count the time interval between two consecutive kicks and the total number of kicks in say an hour or two. Make sure to inform your doctor if you do not perceive 10 kicks in two hours.
Timeline of Fetal Movements
Below is a common week to week guide about your baby’s movements:
- 12th Week: The baby begins to move in your belly but it is small and you do not feel the movement
- 16th Week: Some expectant mothers start feeling butterfly-fluttering while some confuse it with flatulence. Some are not sure
- 20th Week: By now your baby is strong enough to make his presence and you will feel his kicks. These are termed as ‘quickening’
- 24th Week: Now the baby’s movements become more pronounced and you can easily feel him kicking your belly
- 28th Week: Your baby is frequently in motion and some of his kicks may even take away your breath
- 36th Week: The baby grows and occupies most of the uterine pace and the kicks ad movements slow down by now
Warning Signs Of Decrease In Fetal Movements
Generally there should be 10 fetal movements in 120 minutes. If you fell the baby is slow and the count is less than this, immediately seek your doctor’s help.
Other important factors that can affect your baby’s movements are:
- Mother’s nutrition level
- Stressful lifestyle
- Excess anxiety
- Mother’s hydration level
In some situations, decreased or slow fetal movements is due to serious problem such as sudden rupture of amniotic sac or any problem with fetal respirator system or even less availability of oxygen.
Placenta abruption or abruption of placenta is another serious condition that causes separation of placenta from the uterine wall. Placenta is concerned with providing food and nutrition to the growing fetus from the maternal tissues.
The separation or detachment can be minor and recovers on its own but sometimes there is complete cessation of food and oxygen supply to the fetus. This can result in fetal death if not corrected immediately by a surgery.
Decreased Fetal Movements and Fetal Demise
In few cases decreased fetal movements are suggestive of fetal death. The actual cause of fetal demise is however not always known. Infection, trauma, tumor, etc can also cause fetal death.
Monitoring Baby Movements
Keeping in mind the significance of fetal movements, their proper monitoring is very important. Writing down at a specific time of the day about the intensity, frequency and duration of kicks or jabs is the ideal way to keep a record of the fetal movements. Routine ultrasonography is done particularly at four to five months of gestation to assess the development status of the fetus and to rule out the presence of any congenital abnormality. Regular antenatal clinical examinations are also helpful in assessing the heart rate of the growing fetus. During these checkups, your doctor will hear your baby’s heart rate with a Doppler heart monitor or a stethoscope.
Keep these points in mind and enjoy this beautiful phase of life. Happy pregnancy!