After making it through the first trimester’s exhaustion and nausea, the second trimester can feel like a relief for many. Plus, there’s an added bonus that makes things start to feel really real: starting to feel your baby move! Many people begin to feel the first flutters and movements as early as week 16. Let’s review baby movement during pregnancy.
Early baby movement
Many feel those first swishes and flutters some time between week 16 and week 20, but it can be tough to distinguish between these tiny sensations and gas. Still, these first movements are exciting and reassuring. They’re generally not consistent, and it’s very normal to go days without feeling any movement at all during these weeks.
Baby movement during weeks 24-28
By this time, most people are able to sense their baby move daily. You might have a sense of their natural rhythm (do you have an early bird or a night owl?). By 28 weeks, many healthcare providers recommend a daily “kick count” if you have any concerns about how often baby is moving. You can find out more about how to do that with the Ovia Kick Counter here.
Which movements are normal?
As your baby grows, you may be able to distinguish between kicks, punches, and stretching. After a big meal, you may notice baby moving much more than usual. This is not cause for alarm — it’s a natural reaction to an increase in your blood sugar. Increased movements are generally a very reassuring sign of how baby is doing. Sometimes you may notice a rhythmic bouncing feeling — generally these are hiccups! They are very common (some babies get them every day), and again, not a cause for concern (just super cute).
What if I’m not feeling anything?
If you’re early in pregnancy (before 20 weeks) it is completely normal not to have felt baby move quite yet. After that point, the types of sensations people have varies. In particular, those who are pregnant with their first baby and those with anterior placentas are less likely to notice all of their baby’s movements. You and your provider can work on a plan after 28 weeks to count movements or use another method to check on baby’s wellbeing.
For any parent after 28 weeks, losing the sensation of baby moving can be really scary and should be addressed. If kick counting doesn’t offer any reassurance, you should always feel empowered to contact your provider or seek more urgent care, as there are many ways to check on your baby!
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- Aya Mohr Sasson, Abraham Tsur, Anat Kalter, Alina Weissmann Brenner, Liat Gindes & Boaz Weisz (2016) Reduced fetal movement: factors affecting maternal perception, The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 29:8, 1318-1321, DOI: 10.3109/14767058.2015.1047335
- Mangesi L, Hofmeyr GJ, Smith V, Smyth RMD. Fetal movement counting for assessment of fetal wellbeing. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD004909. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004909.pub3. Accessed 26 May 2022. https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/fetal-movement-counting.