One of my favorite moments of pregnancy was when I felt my baby move for the very first time. The first trimester causes all sorts of strange emotions – you know you are expecting, but there are very few tangible signs that your baby is there. You haven’t had a scan yet, your bump isn’t yet noticeable; and if you are lucky enough to have avoided morning sickness it can be hard to fully comprehend the fact that you’re pregnant at all!
Those first few baby flutters are a pretty incredible sensation and makes everything feel so much more real. Most Moms to be start to feel their babies moving at around 18-20 weeks, but in second pregnancies, when you are more familiar with the signs, you may notice some movements even earlier (from around 16 weeks onwards).
What do baby movements feel like?
Your baby’s movements initially feel a bit like flutters in your tummy but very soon become more noticeable, becoming definite kicks, twists and turns as your baby moves and repositions themselves in the womb.
The amount of movements you notice can vary from one pregnancy to another, with no two pregnancies or Moms to be experiencing exactly the same. There are no set number of times a day. It is important to remember however that hiccups (which babies can get quite frequently in the womb) don’t count as movements as these are completely involuntary.
As your pregnancy progresses, your baby will generally fall into a bit of a routine. You will learn what level of movements are normal for your baby, following a general pattern. There will be times of day when your baby is still and sleeping/resting and others when they are particularly active. Often babies move frequently at night when you are attempting to sleep!
Why is important to monitor my baby’s movements
Your baby’s movements can be a good indicator of their overall in utero health and if your babies movements start to reduce, it could be a sign that something is amiss.
Some reduced movements may be completely normal. It may be that you have been so busy that you simply haven’t been paying attention or are becoming somewhat immune to the familiar sensations. It could be that you haven’t drank enough and that you are a little dehydrated. Your baby may also have simply changed position, so the place where you feel their movements is less noticeable or on a different part of your bump. How strong these movements are will also depend upon the position of your placenta.
If you haven’t noticed any movements for a while, try lying flat on your back in a quiet room and see if you can notice it. Sometimes simply paying more attention can help you monitor your baby’s movements more closely. Go the bathroom and have a cold drink, or go for a walk and see if this makes any difference.
Using a movement tracker app or simply making a note of when you feel your baby move can be really helpful and help you keep an eye on what is normal for you and your baby.
If you notice that movements are different to the norm and you can’t stimulate movements after an hour, go and get checked – it is better to be safe than sorry. Never feel like you are wasting someone’s time. You know your body and your baby best – so trust your instincts and do what feels right for you.