Friday, March 14, 2014

Fetal Movement: It's All About The Kick!

Yesterday, a girlfriend of mine who is 16+ weeks texted me and asked, “Is it normal to feel the baby kick at 16 weeks? I was up all night from the movement. My doctor said I wouldn’t feel fetal movement until 20 weeks.”  The answer is yes! It is absolutely normal to feel kicks anywhere from 15 weeks and 25 weeks.  It is important to remember that all women are different.  Some factors play into how early you feel fetal movement like, if this is your first baby or your third.  If it is your first baby, you aren’t as likely to feel the movement early because it is a new feeling.  Most first time moms don’t know what to expect when they feel the movement.  I was expecting violent kicks because of all the stories I heard, I had no idea it was going to be flutters at first.  I felt movement very early and I must admit, it was hard to tell the difference between my stomach growling and the baby moving.  By 12 weeks movement is happening, it just may not be clear to you.  Also, women who retain more water may feel the movement a little later.  It can also depend on how sensitive you are.  I had previous surgery around the area so any movement, I felt because my insides were so sensitive.

How does it feel when my baby moves?
If you do feel your baby move in the early stages of your pregnancy it will probably feel like you have a nervous tummy.  Ever had those nerves before a big presentation in school when you were younger, or a test, or going to see your in-laws?  It feels a little something like that...nervous, anxious butterflies.  By the time you land into your second and third trimester, the kicks will start to feel much more aggressive.  If you are among the women who feel movement later in the pregnancy, it is no need to be concerned, everyone is different.  You could have a sleeper or he or she might have a really mellow personality.

How often will I feel movement?
Every baby is different when it comes to movement.  Some babies enjoy their sleep and have a prime time that they are awake and some babies will move throughout the entire day and night.  It depends on your munchkin.

Can I make the baby move?
There are some tricks to getting your baby to move.  I must warn you, they don’t always work.  If your baby is stubborn, like mine was, and doesn’t want to move, then he or she won’t.  Don’t get concerned if you are doing all of these things and find your baby to remain still.  He or she is probably just taking a nap and letting you know they don’t want to be bothered.  Some tricks you can do:
  • Switch positions.  Try laying on your back, I felt most movement when I was on my back.  Everyone is different, maybe your baby likes it when you lay on your left side. Try it out.
  • Eat or drink something sweet.  Orange juice, fruit juices, they seem to give the baby a little jolt of energy!
  • Play some music for your baby or sing to him or her.  My son would always wake up and do a dance when there was music on, which was pretty often in our home.
  • Tickle your belly.  Once you start to get an idea of what is where, you will know what spots you can tickle.  I used to tickle his feet and he would always kick back.
  • Have a cold drink! Cold drinks normally wake up the baby.
As I said before, if you try these things and they don’t work, don’t panic, your baby is probably just sleeping and doesn’t want to be bothered.  If you are feeling your baby move less than 10 times in 2 hours and you are in your third trimester it can’t hurt to give your doctor or midwife a call.

Should I keep a “kick count”?
You should monitor your baby’s movement; however it is hard to pinpoint when you should start.  Once you feel you know your baby’s schedule, definitely start to keep track in whatever way works for you.  You know your baby, whenever you have a cycle with him or her you should start to monitor how often the baby moves.  Every hour? How many times in an hour? More during the day? More at night?  These are just something things to take note of, so if you notice changes you can mention it to your doctor or midwife.  They will let you know what is normal and what may be concerning.

When should I feel movement?
Every baby is different.  It does depend on outside things like how often you are up and about.  Some women don’t realize it, but by moving a lot you are rocking your baby to sleep.  The primary time for baby movement is are 9 or 10 pm to 1 or 2 am.  Lucky you, right?  Your blood sugar levels change as you are settling down and this is what causes the jolt.  

When to call your doctor or midwife?
Once you have reached a point in your pregnancy when you know your baby’s schedule, if you feel it drastically change it can’t hurt to call your doctor.  The fetal movement will slow between 32 and 36 weeks or so because the baby has gotten bigger and is “running out of womb” to move around.  You have a bond with your baby and know when something is up, when in doubt, call it in.  Better to be safe than sorry.  When I reached 36 weeks my son had stopped moving for 22 hours.  He was normally a super baby who kicked anytime music was on or I sang to him and he slept through all of it.  When I went to the doctor they did a non-stress test and ultrasound.  Turned out he was just resting up because he knew he was coming out the next day!

Once you have reached around 24 weeks, maybe sooner or maybe later, you will feel your baby have hiccups.  This is different from kicks, it isn’t as strong and it will be clock work.  You will be able to time them.  They feel like a sudden jolt every couple seconds.

I hope this gave you some information on fetal movement! Any questions, comments or experiences, feel free to contact us at!

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