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Foetal movement: Feeling baby kick

All babies develop at different rates, but being able to feel the baby kick usually happens during the second trimester of pregnancy.

For a first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks.

You're more likely to feel baby move when you're in a quiet position, either sitting or lying down.

When will I feel my baby kicking?

You should feel your baby's first movements between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks. You're more likely to feel baby move when you're in a quiet position, either sitting or lying down.

What does the baby kicking feel like?

Different mothers describe their baby's movements as butterflies, nervous twitches, or a tumbling motion. At first, it may be hard to tell whether your baby has moved. Second and third time mothers are more adept at distinguishing those first baby movements from wind, hunger pangs and other internal movements. By your second and third trimesters the movements should be more distinct, and you'll be able to feel strong kicks, jabs and elbows.

How often should I feel my baby moving?

Early in your pregnancy, you may just feel a few flutters every now and then. But as your baby grows, usually by the end of the second trimester, the kicks should grow stronger and more frequent. Studies have shown that by the third trimester, the baby moves about 30 times each hour.

Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between wakefulness and sleep. They are usually most active between 9 pm and 1 am, just as you're trying to get to sleep. Babies also can respond to sounds or touch and may even kick your partner in the back if you snuggle too close in bed.

Should I monitor my baby's kicking?

Once your baby's movements are well established (usually by week 28), sometimes the midwife may recommend keeping track of all those little punches, jabs and kicks to make sure your baby is still developing normally, but this is not a routine measurement because there isn't any real scientific evidence to prove whether this method is a good indicator of the baby's wellbeing, so check with your doctor or midwife to see what they recommend.

If you are counting, it helps to keep a chart of your baby's kicks so that you can keep track of your baby's normal patterns of movement. To count foetal movements, pick a time when your baby is usually most active (often this is right after you've eaten a meal). Get into a comfortable position either sitting down in a comfortable chair or lying on your side.

Opinion varies as to how to count your baby's movements, some experts recommend noting the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. You should feel at least 10 movements within a two hour period.

If you don't feel your baby move 10 times by the end of two hours, or your baby is much less active than normal, speak to your midwife so that further tests can be arranged if necessary.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 31, 2014

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