When can you feel baby movement? Distinguishing first kicks and pokes
So your pregnancy is running smoothly, you are at the end of your first or beginning of second trimester. You start to notice changes within your body week by week, some are minor (you feel bloated but you can still wear your regular jeans), some are major (are these boobs even mine?). You definitely feel different with this constant fatigue and nausea, however you may not look pregnant just yet.
But many women don’t even feel pregnant until they actually start noticing there is something moving inside of them! It’s an exciting moment when you finally realize there’s’e a little active human creature inside of your belly. So when can you feel your baby movement? Here’s what you can expect.
How long do I have to wait?
Your peanut starts moving long before you can actually feel it, and his/her activity will vary with time.
Generally, you should be able to feel first movements at about 16 till 24 weeks time. It all depends if it’s your first pregnancy and on your body weight. It’s not always easy to distinguish those first kicks, especially if you are a first time mum. You may simply mistake those first gentle flutters for some kind of revolution in your stomach.
If a woman had kids before she already knows what to expect and she will feel those pokes much earlier at around 16 weeks; but if you are pregnant for the first time, you may only feel it at 18-22 weeks. Also, if your weight was normal before your pregnancy and you don’t have much fat around your belly you will most likely feel it sooner than more obese women.
In my case, I just reached 5 months when I finally felt it, and by that time I was certain it’s a baby, not something I’ve eaten an hour before!
How the first baby movement should feel?
That’s a tough question to answer, however I was curious as well and I bet many of you are too. I was actually anxious it takes so long for my baby to let me know everything is all right ! So I was asking my friends with babies and surfing the internet for some clues. Many of women described it as a feeling of a fish residing their womb. Some said it felt more like having butterfly nest or bubbles popping in their belly.
And for me? It just felt like a gentle punch from inside! So I guess every experience is different, when the time is right you will simply know it. However, if you don’t feel anything up till 24 weeks of your pregnancy, consult it with your midwife. It may be nothing to worry about but it’s better to stay cautious.
What is my baby up to inside of my womb?
Growing and getting ready for his/her arrival ! It’s amazing how fast the baby its growing its organs week by week. His/her ability to do certain things also evolves rapidly. Here are some major milestones of your baby’s evolution that you have every reason to celebrate:
- 5 weeks: at this time your baby’s tiny heart starts pounding twice as fast as yours
- 6-8 weeks: facials features begin to form, following arms and legs
- 10-12 weeks: eyes have fully developed although they are still closed, the fetus starts to look more like a human. The main organs (kidneys, brain, and liver ) begin to function while fingernails are starting to form, bones are becoming more hard. The baby can yawn, stretch and hiccup but you won’t feel it just yet. By the end of week 12 (if you are having an ultrasound) you will be able to hear your little one’s heartbeat for the first time (how exciting!).
- 14-16 weeks: the baby can suck his/her thumb! Even though the eyelids are still shut he can move his eyes and recognize the light as well as make facial expressions. If you are having an ultrasound now, you may find out the gender of your baby.
- 18-20 weeks: the skin is wrinkly and covered by a protective layer. Your baby can hear your voice and others around you, but mainly recognize your partners voice. Its good time to put the biggest headphones you find at home over your belly and play some calming music, she may even react with some movements!
- 23-27 weeks: your baby’s sense of movement and hearing continues to improve. You may be able to notice your little one squirming from time to time. The brain begins to develop in a rapid pace so now it’s particularly important to include those omega 3 in your diet. Lungs are also developing but won’t be working properly for few more weeks; she can now open her eyes as well. At the end of second trimester you may notice your baby’s pattern of sleeping and waking up. By now the baby weighs over 0.5 kg and measures around 30 cm.
- 28-32 weeks: neurons in brain continue to develop, the eyesight is improving, the baby might be even dreaming! Tiny fingernails and toenails are fully formed. Your baby is also visibly gaining on weight in preparation for birth. It weighs over 1,5 kg and measures roughly 45 cm.
- 34-37 weeks: lungs and central nervous system are on the finish line of developing. The baby’s skin loses the protective ‘coat’ and becomes soft. At the end of 37 weeks the baby is considered as “early term”, meaning if its born now it will most likely be healthy, but ideally it will wait for a couple more weeks.
- 39-40 weeks: Your baby is now ready for life outside of your womb. The average weight of a newborn is about 3,5kg and length is about 50-52 cm.
- If you reach 41 weeks you are over your due date and your baby will be considered as “late term”. To avoid complications, your doctor will probably suggest inducing labour.
If I don’t feel my baby kicks one of the days, should I be worried?
Definitely don’t panic, stress is not good for you these days (and when it is anyway?). Try to concentrate when counting your baby’s movements, you can lie on your left side with a pillow under your belly. (You’re more likely to notice your little one’s pokes when you’re lying down rather than sitting or standing).
Stay still for at least an hour or 2, during which time, according to many guidelines out there, you should feel around 10 separate movements. However, please be aware that this general rule does’t apply to all of us, it’s a bit outdated technique as each baby is different and has different patterns of movements. So don’t stress out if you felt for example only 8 kicks, instead of 10, everything is all right as long as you feel your peanut on the move.
What’s more, from around 30 weeks of your pregnancy you will feel change in the activity of your baby; those kicks will turn into less vigorous movements (they will also occur less often than you may have noticed before) because he or she is running out of space in your womb!
How to encourage my baby to move?
Here are some tips if you want to try making your baby move on your ‘command’:
- Sit or lay down with your feet up. Your baby may be falling asleep while you’re moving around so he/she could wake up when you relax and have something to eat.
- Have something cold to drink. Your baby may want to avoid the coldness so will try to move away from the change of temperature.
- Play loud music (could be through the headphones) or try to switch on the torch and direct the light onto your belly
If your baby starts to move around, that’s great. But if not, it might be a signal for you to take an action. Keep in mind that you should feel constant movements every day from about 28 weeks of your pregnancy; ask your midwife if you have any concerns.