When Can You Feel the Baby Kick?

Feeling Baby kick for the first time is a thrilling and breathtaking experience!

Waiting for the next kick, and the next, and the next can keep expectant moms captivated for hours.

For some moms, however, worry about fetal movement can also take over. When can you feel the baby kick? Is Baby not kicking enough? Is Baby kicking so much you can’t sleep? What’s normal? Is Baby normal?

Here’s all you need to know about fetal movement.

“Quickening” is the term given to the ‘fluttering’ feeling experienced by pregnant women during the earliest fetal movements. Fetal movement is a sign that all is well with the baby!

Though baby’s arms and limbs appear much earlier, you’ll feel Baby’s kicks between 16 to 22 weeks of pregnancy. Baby often kicks in response to environmental changes, like loud noises. Not only does Baby kick, but she punches, hiccups, turns, and sweeps her limbs across your belly every now and then!

Generally speaking, there are certain expectations with regard to fetal movement.

Below are answers to many of your specific questions about Baby’s kicks. The biggest question of all is…

When can you feel the baby kick?

First-time moms may have a problem recognizing fetal movement until the kicks get stronger. That usually happens around 22 weeks. For some women, it’s earlier. For some, it’s later. Most women describe quickening as butterflies in the stomach or a flutter.

Baby often kicks more after meals and at night when you’re lying down. Your daytime movement (getting up, walking, etc.) actually ends up rocking baby to sleep. When you lie down at night you’re more relaxed, giving Baby more room and opportunity to move!

How much fetal movement should you expect?

Fetal movement is affected by sound, sleep, food, and mom’s posture. By the end of the second trimester, the kicks should be stronger and more regular. Babies alternate between “active” and “inactive” periods, obviously, as they’re alternating between sleep, wakefulness, and energetic activity. Some babies kick more than others. Your baby is unique. Try not to compare your baby’s kick counts to others’.

When to start counting kicks

Most doctors recommend that pregnant women keep a log of fetal movement starting 28 weeks of pregnancy.


How do you keep track of Baby’s kicks?

Once Baby’s movements are established and regular (often by 28 weeks), if you’re concerned about Baby’s movement you should start a log. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends noting the amount of time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements.

Pick a certain time of day when your baby is usually most active. Lie on your left side and time how long it takes for Baby to move 10 times. Easy as that!

What if you can’t feel Baby kicking?

When should you start to worry?

Again, all babies are different and yours is no exception. Baby is resting, sleeping, waking up, playing, and discovering the world inside your womb. She’s not always jumping around and kicking/poking at things. If you’re feeling Baby move frequently, chances are she’s healthy, happy, and just fine.

If, however, you’re more than 24 weeks pregnant and you notice any of the below it would be good to check in with your doctor or midwife.

  • You don’t feel any fetal movement for two hours.
  • You notice it takes longer and longer for Baby to get to 10 movements.
  • You feel less than 10 movements for two hours.

If you are less than 25 weeks pregnant, don’t panic if you aren’t sure about what a fetal movement feels like. As Baby grows, you’ll find it’s easier and easier to feel her move.

You can also try lying on your left side

After 32 weeks, you will feel baby kick less. This is no cause for concern! Baby is simply too big to move around! Exciting, isn’t it?


Fetal movement Timeline

As with many things Baby-related (like your due date!), the below are estimates. If you don’t feel butterflies at exactly 16 weeks, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong! Take a breath, Momma.

This information isn’t meant to cause more worry. It should help you get excited about Baby’s growth!

  • Week 12: Baby starts to move but is so small that most women will not feel it yet.
  • Week 16: Some women start to feel butterflies.
  • Week 20: By this time, you should start to feel the first fetal movements.
  • Week 24: Baby’s movements are becoming more established.
  • Week 28: Some of Baby’s kicks and jabs are so strong they can take your breath away.
  • Week 36: Movement slows down as the uterus gets crowded. You should still feel consistent movement throughout the day.

Enjoy these days, Momma. Pregnancy flies by so fast!

Have you started to notice baby’s fetal movements yet?


Featured image source: therealityofpregnancy.wordpress.com

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