Fetal Movements: How often and when should my baby move?

By JustMommies staff

Are you anxiously awaiting your baby's first kick? Or are you concerned that baby should be moving by now? Or do you have a leaping leprechaun in your belly and wondering if that is normal? Fetal movement varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. However, there are certain expectations given for all babies regarding fetal movement. Generally speaking, most women will feel baby move between 16-22 weeks. Although baby's arms and legs are developed and moving much earlier, her "kicks" will not be strong enough to be felt until the second trimester.

What does baby's kicking feel like?

Quickening, is the term used to define the mother's sensing of baby's movement. Quickening can be described as a fluttering type movement. Butterflies in the stomach, a tickling or tapping sensation, or gas bubbles are all other ways women have described quickening. As the baby's movement gets stronger distinct kicks will be felt.

How active should my baby be?

Movement varies from baby to baby. Some babies are very active while others are not. In the beginning it is normal to notice movement some days and not others, but as baby's movements get stronger you should feel baby move every day. Fetal activity is affected by sleep, sound, time of day, and mother's activity level. Around 28 weeks, some doctors will recommend keeping track of baby's movement.

How to record fetal movements?

Try to count baby's movements at the same time each day. Pick a time when baby is most active. Count baby's movements while lying on your side. Mark an x or count until you reach 10 movements. If within 2 hours you do not feel 10 movements, call your doctor.

When should I call my doctor?

After laying down to monitor your baby's movement, if there are fewer than 10 movements in 2 hours you should call your doctor. If baby's movements are slower, and it takes longer and longer each day to reach 10 movements, you should also call your doctor. If you are up and about you may not notice baby's movements as much. This is why it is important to be laying down to keep an accurate kick count record. If you notice a decrease in fetal movement or an absence of movement, contact your doctor.