The sensation of the first few kicks inside the womb is a landmark moment in every woman’s life. For the very first time, you feel the existence of a life inside you.
These intermittent movements are known as ‘quickening’ in the medical dictionary. It is a sign of reassurance that your little bundle of joy is growing well inside you and will soon join your family. While most of us accept baby kicks inside the womb as a normal symptom of pregnancy, still there are confusions about this amazing phenomenon experienced during pregnancy.
Why do baby kicks inside the womb?
Pregnancy is a journey which has its own thrills and wonders in every trimester you step into. According to scientists of the IIT (Kanpur) and the Trinity College (Dublin), a baby moves inside your tummy as it tries to make its bones and joints strong.
Various studies also confirm the lack of baby movement inside your belly during pregnancy may lead to the abnormal joint development and fragile bones. The feeling of your baby moving in belly confirms that it is growing well inside your womb.
However, babies also move inside your tummy as a response to too much noise, light or even strong favor of any food. As per a statement by Rebecca Lisa Shiffman, Director of Maternal Foetal Medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Centre, NY, neonate babies tend to recognize a sound which they have heard during their embryonic stage. Baby movements are caused due to change in blood sugar level during pregnancy. As a result, your baby tends to move at certain times of the day.
You can also feel the fetal movement in your abdomen when your baby stretches itself for relaxation.
What does it feel like when the baby moves?
Usually, in most cases, it is a bit confusing for pregnant women to understand whether their baby is really moving. It gives a feeling of butterflies in your stomach when your baby moves its limbs for the first time.
From the second or third trimester, you can prominently understand your baby kicks, hiccups, flutters or jabs inside your body.
For the second or third time moms, it is easier to distinguish baby kicks inside the womb from gas, hunger pangs or any other sensation inside the abdomen.
How soon can you feel the baby move inside your belly?
Baby movement in womb starts around the seventh week of conception. However, by the ninth week of gestation, you can clearly feel your baby fluttering its tiny feet inside your growing belly. By the 24th week of pregnancy baby kicks and hiccups are more prominent and frequent.
You can better feel your baby movements when you are in a lying or sitting position or resting quietly.
How to make your baby move inside your abdomen?
If your baby is not moving inside your womb during the third trimester, there are a few tips you can try at home for making your baby move:
- Lie down for an hour or two and relax.
- Drink a glass of milk or juice. A cold refreshing drink may stimulate your baby’s movements.
- Listen to your favorite song. Often music has a positive impact on your baby’s development.
- Relieve yourself from anything or any thought that stresses your mind. A happy mind can build up a healthy baby.
How to monitor my baby kicks?
Usually, it becomes difficult for you to feel your baby kicks if you are busy throughout the day with work. But, there is a small tip for you to monitor your baby movements at home.
Lie down on your left side for 2 hours and let your abdomen rest on a cushion or pillow. Within this time you should feel your baby moving in the womb for at least 10 times.
Usually, the fetus is most active after your meals. You can choose this time for taking your baby kick counts.
Although there are differences in opinion about baby movements during pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests there should be 10 movements within the duration of two and a half hours.
In which month the baby starts moving in a womb?
Before your baby starts moving inside your belly, it needs to develop its brain, spinal cord, heart, and a few sense organs. The fetal movement starts inside your belly when the fetus is about ½ inches long.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, baby movements are prominent during thirteenth to sixteenth weeks of gestation. But in cases, it can be felt within the twenty-fifth week also.
If you are a second-time mother-to-be, you may identify such “quickening” sooner than your first-time pregnancy.
When does the baby actually start moving?
Baby kicks start with fetuses moving inside your womb as early as in the seventh week of your pregnancy. During this time the fetus starts moving its neck and shoulder and the movement increases as the fetus grows inside your belly. Such movements include thumb sucking, yawning, hiccups, leg movements and stretching.
But, you can feel the kicks and punches when the baby is slightly bigger during the 16 or 18 weeks of your pregnancy.
Timeline of a baby moving in belly
Looking at the timeline below you can have an idea about the possible movements of your baby during the different stages of pregnancy:
Week-12: Your baby is probably moving inside your belly but you may not be able to feel the movements clearly as the fetus is very small.
Week-16: You may feel like butterflies in your stomach. It may give you a feeling of flatulence or gas in your abdomen.
Week-20: At this stage, you may feel the “quickening” of your baby inside. These are the first prominent movements of your baby.
Week-24: As your baby starts hiccupping you may feel some kind of twitches in your stomach.
Week-28: Now your baby starts real movements quite often. As a result, you may feel kicks and jabs that may take away your breath for a while.
Week-36: By this time, your uterus has expanded to its fullest and your baby has grown to its fullest. Consequently, its movements have slowed down a little as they have hardly any space to move inside your uterus. But, there should be consistent baby movements inside your abdomen during this phase of your pregnancy no matter how little they are.
Why does your baby kick more at night?
The kick of a baby within your womb has a unique rhythm and pattern. During the daytime, you are busy with various activities that come to rest when you are asleep at night. It is at that time your baby becomes alert and which it shows by movements.
A different argument on this phenomenon is your baby has started responding to different sounds around. During night everything becomes silent. As a result, it moves within your womb as a sign of response to the external stimulus.
Should you count your baby kicks every day?
Usually women during pregnancy you do not take kick counts regularly unless it is a high-risk pregnancy. But, once your baby starts moving in full swing (usually after 28 weeks) your doctor may advise you to keep a track of its flutters or punches from time to time. It is to make sure your baby is growing at its normal pace at the right time.
One way to count your baby kicks is to assess the number of movements in an hour. The other way is to note down the time it takes for completing 10 movements.
The most effective way to keep a track of your baby kicks is to count the movements at the same time every day and thus calculate the average movement of your baby per hour.
What does it indicate if your baby is not moving?
There may be a number of reasons for which there can be a decrease in baby movements inside your belly. Knowing them will help you understand your baby and its behaviors.
- The fetus is not getting a sufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients from the placenta.
- Often due to physical or emotional stress, there may be a change in your baby’s movements.
- Often due to placental abruption, there is lack of blood flow to the fetus. As a result, you may feel fewer movements of your baby.
- Rupture of the placenta may lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen to the placenta and consequently slowing down of your baby kicks.
- If the umbilical cord is twisted around your baby’s neck or it is deformed, there is less supply of oxygen to your baby. Therefore, your baby moves less inside your womb.
What to do if the baby is not moving?
At times, due to hectic routine, it may not be possible for you to monitor and keep a track of your baby movements regularly. But, if you notice any of the below-mentioned signs, immediately consult your health care provider and don’t wait till the next day:
- If you cannot feel 10 individual kicks while lying for more than 2 hours on your left side.
- Your baby does not show a response to an external stimulus e.g. noise or smell of a particular food.
- If there is a sudden or gradual decrease in your baby’s movements consecutively for several days.
You must have developed a good know-how about baby kicks inside your belly from the above article. Follow these tips and make your bond stronger with your baby from today.