by Emma Antoine-Portinari
Many moms wait with great anticipation to experience the first flutters of movement from their baby. Those feelings of wiggles, rolls, twists, and kicks are some of the most exciting new sensations for moms-to-be and an important milestone during pregnancy. Not only are these kicks thrilling, but they help reassure you that your baby is growing and developing. As you move through your pregnancy, your baby will become more active, and these kicks will become more and more frequent.
When do kicks begin?
The first sign of movement is called "quickening" and typically occurs between 16 to 22 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have given birth twice or more tend to feel movement closer to 16 weeks, while those who are pregnant for the first time tend to feel movement closer to 20 to 22 weeks. By week 20, movement and kicks begin to become more visible externally and can begin to be felt by others.
While movement varies from mom to mom, most women find that their baby is most active after they’ve eaten a snack or meal or after they’ve engaged in physical activity. Movement can also be more frequent between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., as blood sugar levels begins to decrease.
The importance of kick counts
Iit’s important to monitor your baby’s movements throughout your pregnancy, but as you enter your third trimester, it becomes even more important track kicks. Around 28 weeks, it’s recommended that moms begin to take note of their baby’s kicks and continue through the remainder of their pregnancy. Your baby’s kicks act as an indicator that they are growing, thus allowing you to make sure their health and development is on track throughout your third trimester!
The “count to 10” method is recommended to help keep track of your baby’s movements. Moms track how long it takes to feel 10 kicks, flutters, rolls, or any sort of movement from their little one. The goal is to feel at least 10 movements within a 2-hour time period.
How to count kicks
To keep track of these movements, you can use the “kick counter” feature in the Ovia Pregnancy app. Tap "more" on your bottom bar menu and scroll down to "Kick counter" to access it. With this tool, you can time how long it takes to get to 10 kicks/movements by starting a stopwatch to keep track of time and clicking the “kick” button each time you feel a movement. The stopwatch continues to count when you exit the app, so you can go back to the app each time you feel a movement!
Counting kicks allows you to begin to observe patterns in your baby’s movements. If you haven't felt 10 kicks by the end of 2 hours of counting, wait a few hours and try again. After a second 2-hour session, if you still haven't felt 10 movements, it’s recommended that you contact your healthcare provider. If you begin to notice any significant deviations in the pattern of movement your baby typically shows, it’s important to get in touch with your healthcare provider.
Counting kicks both helps you monitor your baby’s health and development and gives you time to further bond with your baby. So try to find time in your day to sit back, relax, and get to know your baby’s unique patterns and rhythm!
Bryant, Joe; T. Jamil, Radia; Thistle, Jennifer. "Fetal Movement." National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. June 13, 2019.