Feeling the fetal movement is one of the most exciting moments of pregnancy. It is a unique experience which also signals that your baby is developing normally. The first fetal movements are usually experienced between the 16th and 22th week of pregnancy, while the sensation is most often described like butterfly flatter in the stomach. It is more likely to feel the baby moving while in a relaxed position such as when laying or sitting but it may be difficult to distinguish between a gas for instance and fetal movement until mid-pregnancy. The baby starts to move as early as 12 weeks after conception but it is very unlikely to feel anything although some women report experiencing movements as soon as during the 13th week of pregnancy. However, most women feel the first movements known as quickening after the 16th week of pregnancy. There is no reason to be concerned if you do not feel any movement in your belly until the 25th week, especially if it is your first pregnancy. First-time moms usually experience the baby’s first movements later than second- and third-time moms.
As the pregnancy progresses, the baby’s movements will become stronger and more frequent. By the 28th week of pregnancy, you will have no difficulties distinguishing between a gas and the baby’s movement. In fact, the baby’s kick can be strong enough to cause pain. According to some studies, most babies move as often as 30 times an hour by the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. There is, however, no reason to panic if not feeling movements for an hour or two because the baby may be asleep. Some health experts recommend to keep track of the baby’s movement because the frequency of movements is believed to reveal that the baby is developing normally. Since the fetal activity varies throughout the day, determine when your baby is most active and count the movements if you were told to do so by your health care provider. Experts are divided about counting the baby’s movements but according to the majority, your baby should move at least 10 times within 2 hours. If you do not count 10 movements by the end of the second hour, you can try later in the day because your baby may be only less active. But if you still cannot feel that 10 movements by the end of the day, you should call your doctor. He or she will check your baby’s movements and heart rate to make sure that he or she is still developing normally.
After the 32th week of pregnancy, you will experience fewer movements. This is normal because the baby has less space to move around your uterus. Nevertheless, you should still feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period. If you do not, repeat “kick counts“ later in the day. Call your doctor if your baby does not move 10 times within two hours by the end of the day, or if noticing a significant decrease in movements or changes in the movement pattern.