It will probably be one of the most exciting and incredible feelings for a mother when she feels the first kick of her baby in her womb. The feeling of butterflies inside the stomach will literally be real when that day arrives. The first fetal movement is generally felt between 16-22 weeks and will feel more like light flutters initially. Let us take a look at what these movements mean and learn simple ways of keeping the movements monitored.
How Do They Feel?
Baby’s movements feel like butterflies in the tummy in the initial days but they do get stronger as days pass by and you can expect to be woken up in the middle of the night as the champion practices some professional soccer kicks. As you enter your third trimester, you can expect to feel the baby’s hiccups as well. As your uterus gets more and more crowded with the baby, you might not feel very strong kicks but you should expect at least 10 movements in 2 hours.
What Do These Movements Mean?
It is believed by doctors that an active fetus is indicative of a healthy fetus so the more kicks you feel, the better it is but there are women who are of a larger build or whose placenta lies in front of the uterus. They might not feel the kicks as strong as others would.
Health practitioners recommend that as you enter your third trimester, you should make it a habit to count your baby’s movements. How will you do that? Babies tend to be the most active when you are taking a break or are lying down. Start practicing to count these flutters early so that this becomes more of a habit later. Babies are least expected to move much while you are busy.
When To Be Concerned?
If you feel that your baby hasn’t moved much in a day, try and relax by sitting down and feeling for the movement. If you are not convinced, reach out to your doctor immediately. Most of the times, the doctor or midwife will assure you that the baby is fine and resting by checking its heartbeat or via an ultrasound but the reminders are emphasized because in a few instances, reduced fetal movement could be the underlying symptom of a stillborn1.
When Should You Contact Your Doctor?
If any one of the following things happens, you should call your doctor or midwife immediately:
- If you haven’t felt the baby’s movements for more than 3-4 hours at a stretch. Do not wait for another day or few more hours to be sure.
- If the frequency of the kicks gradually reduce and there is way too little movement of the baby who would otherwise kick about vigorously.
It is important to know that every fetus is different and will have different patterns of movement. It is best not to compare your fetal movements with others because that will end up confusing you even further. Keep yours monitored closely and enjoy the communications from within!