The first feeling of movement more of a sensations or little flutters inside you than a big kick! It takes a while to realise that the sensations are your baby’s movement in your belly. You gradually become aware of them generally between weeks 18 to 20 although it isn’t unusual for them to be later than this.
If you have been pregnant before, you will be more aware of the fluttering and understand that it is your baby’s movements , which means it wouldn’t be unusual to recognise them as early as week 15 or week 16. Your baby’s movements will have started long before this – it’s just you are not aware of them.
Your baby’s movements generally start at week 7 or 8 with little general movements. By 9-10 weeks they can move their head and touch their face. By week 13 they can move their eyes. Gradually your baby’s movements become strong enough for you to feel them as your baby grows in size and it isn’t long before you are used to your baby’s stretching or moving around your tummy.
It’s important to remember, that your baby won't be on the go constantly. They spend alot of their time sleeping and resting. In your 3rd trimester, coming towards the end, your baby will rest for up to an hour a go. The quiet time may feel like but that is because you don’t actually feel every movement.
Half way through your pregnancy
, around week 20 to week 24, your baby’s activity will increase. You will notice them giving lots of little kick during the day. By week 24 to 27 it isn’t unusual to notice that your baby has hiccups – they feel like little jerky movements. As your baby grows by week 28 to 31, your baby will begin to make more definite movements – your baby is growing, space in your womb is getting smaller and more cramped. By week 32 movements will tend to reach their climax and the number of movements you notice will gradually tail off. This is also not unusual as your baby now has less room to manoeuvre around. Nearing the end of your pregnancy after 35 weeks or baby may start to take up their head-down position. If this happens, it’s like that you will now receive painful kicks to the ribs and uncomfortable stretching from your baby. By week 37 space is extremely limited so your baby will tend to kick back and movements slow down however the don’t completely stop. If there is any stage that you are worried about your baby’s movements, consult your doctor or midwife who will ensure everything is in order.
Each baby is completely different and there will be times when your baby is very active and others when all will be quiet. Your baby may establish their own little pattern of movement and activity with some becoming more lively in the evening or at bed time. Often this can be because that this is the first time that you have actually stopped all day and you are able to notice movements more easily with no distractions of the day.
How many kicks should I feel each day?
There is no set number of kicks that you should feel. Instead, you will get used to your baby’s movements and their normal pattern during the day be it when they are awake or sleeping. If you notice a change in this pattern, speak to your doctor or midwife straight away.
Remember, if you haven’t felt your baby move, it may be because you are busy at work or with other children just concentrating on something else and you may not have noticed your baby's movements.
If you want some reassurance there are ways to encourage your baby to get moving.
Relax, sit down and put your feet up in a quiet room. Sometimes just stopping and focussing makes you feel your baby move. Your baby may be rocked to sleep with your own movements too and they may wake when you stop.
Turn on the TV, radio or ipod and play something loud – your baby might respond.
Drink something hot or cold –your baby may feel the change in temperature and move as a result.
If your baby starts to move around then all is probably fine but do keep an eye out for movements and if in doubt, seek help. As a rule of thumb, you should feel your baby move each day. They should normally respond to noise or other stimulus mentioned above. If there is a big decrease in your baby’s movements, gradually or even over a few days, contact your doctor or midwife and don’t put it off. If it is at the weekend or overnight that your concerns climax, go to your local maternity hospital where the fetal assessment ward will give you expert care for such worries. They are equipped with scanning machines, Doppler devices to hear the baby’s heart beat and can also do a trace on baby’s heartbeat too.