Flutters and kicks in the stomach are something that every expecting mommy looks forward to, whether it’s her first baby or third. In fact, it is also a reassuring sign for a mother that her baby is growing just fine. But, not every movement that a baby makes inside the womb can be classified as a kick. They also spend quite a lot of time simply moving their hands, changing sides, or even performing somersaults. These little ones like to keep themselves busy!
When a woman normally visits a doctor to confirm her pregnancy, he/she usually predict her due date to be 40 weeks after her last menstruation. In these 40 weeks, the fetus grows and develops inside a mother’s womb. This is known as the gestation period. And, the baby begins moving after the development of the brain, heart, spinal cord, and other prominent organs.
Those Early Movements
The fetal movement can begin as early as the eighth week of pregnancy. At this point, the fetus is only about half an inch long. By your 16th week of gestation, these movements might become more coordinated, which can even be detected in an ultrasound scan (1).
There are some women who start feeling these movements between 13th and 16th week of pregnancy (2). Those first movements can give you a beautiful sensation like butterflies fluttering their wings in your belly. This phenomenon is known as “quickening”. If you have been pregnant before, you can begin sensing these movements earlier.
Mostly, you will not feel these flutters on a daily basis until your 24th week of gestation. After which, it is more likely that you will sense some movement or the other every day! It is important to track your baby’s movement as it matters. It is said that the baby should have an active hour every day after the 28th week of pregnancy.
Read also: HOW OFTEN SHOULD BABY BE MOVING?
Why Do They Move?
After the baby’s development begins, he/she might start stretching out his/her limbs. With time, the signs of movements start becoming more and more obvious. This includes motions like kicking, rolling, or punching. At times, the little one will also respond to your emotions or to noise.
If a baby settles in a position that he/she finds uncomfortable, he/she might squirm too. In fact, the food that you ingest can also determine your baby’s movements. You will find him/her to be more active in case of a certain food. He/she will also start following a regular sleeping cycle after some time.
How Often Should They Be Moving?
When you move further along your pregnancy, you should be keeping an account of your baby’s movements. During the third trimester, his/her movements might become more frequent as well as vigorous. In fact, there might be a regular pattern to it as well!
Although movements continue until the end of the third trimester, they become a little more restricted. This is mainly because the baby has grown much bigger till then. So, it becomes a little difficult for your little one to show off his/her ninja skills! Always let your doctor know if you feel the motions have reduced drastically. When you are on a lookout for your baby’s movements, try to do it around the same time each day.
At times, it is more difficult to detect your baby’s movements. It depends on various factors, including the placenta’s location or even your weight. Suppose you are a little obese, the extra padding might make it more difficult for you to identify your baby’s motions. But, don’t you worry, you can always get an ultrasound scan if need be.
When a baby shows rhythmic motion, it might be because he/she is hiccuping. Yes, they have hiccups too! Though it might make you feel a little uneasy, it is usually an important sign of the baby being healthy.
Since each pregnancy is unique, the baby’s movements are too! So, try not to compare your experience with fellow pregnant friends or colleagues. A lot of things can influence your little angel’s movements. So, as long as your baby is meeting his/her active quota of the day, you have nothing to worry! Best of luck!