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What Kind of Baby Movement Is Normal During Pregnancy?

What Kind of Baby Movement Is Normal During Pregnancy?

One of the most exciting moments of a pregnancy is feeling your baby move for the first time. For some women, that movement helps deepen their bond with their baby and makes motherhood feel that much closer and more real.

But when you’re pregnant — especially for the first time — it can be hard to get a bead on whether the movement you’re feeling (or not feeling) is normal.

With that in mind, our obstetrical care providers here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas — including our experienced doctors and our caring certified nurse midwives — would like to provide you with some helpful information about the normal kinds of baby movement that can occur during pregnancy.

Read on for a quick primer on baby movement, which is also known as “fetal movement.” And if you’re ever concerned about how much or how little your baby is moving, call us anytime.

About a developing baby’s movements

Your baby starts moving very early in their development. For example, during month 3 (weeks 9-12), your baby makes breathing-like movements. At that point, your baby also starts swallowing amniotic fluid.

During month 4 (weeks 13-16), your baby moves their arms and legs, but you’re unlikely to feel any of this motion because your baby is still so tiny. In fact, at the end of month 4, a baby typically weighs only around 3 ounces.

Feeling your baby’s movements

Most women don’t feel their baby move until month 5 (weeks 17-20) or month 6 (weeks 21-24). You may feel it as early as week 14 and as late as week 26. At first, your baby’s movements may feel like nothing more than a very gentle flutter. Some women don’t even realize that what they’re feeling is their moving baby. 

How soon or how late you feel your baby move may depend on several factors, including your baby’s size and activity level, as well as your size and whether you’ve had previous pregnancies. 

Generally, women who have already had babies may have to wait a little longer to feel movement, but there’s a wide range of normal for fetal movement.

Many women report that their babies are most active at bedtime or after meals.

Third-trimester movement

Many women say they feel their babies moving most during month 6 (weeks 21-24), month 7 (weeks 25-28), and month 8 (weeks 29-32). This is when your baby is getting bigger and stronger and still has room to stretch, kick, flip around, and squirm.

In month 9 and beyond, as space gets tighter in your uterus and your belly, you may feel slightly less movement. Again, this can vary from one woman to the next. 

Closer to delivery, when your baby moves into position for birth, they may be less able to move freely.

If you don’t feel movement

If you don’t notice your baby moving early on, you may just have a late bloomer. Or your due date may be inaccurate. 

Let us know if you notice a change in your baby’s movement. We may perform an ultrasound to check on your baby’s health.

Checking movement with kick counts

To keep track of your baby’s movements, we may recommend that you do kick-counting, which is also known as fetal movement counting. To learn how to do kick-counting, check out these guidelines from the American Pregnancy Association. We will also give you guidance on kick counting if we want you to do it. 

Our providers are here for you

The doctors and midwives at Westover Hills Women’s Health want to help you have the healthiest possible pregnancy. We invite you to call at any time if you have questions about your baby’s movement, their health, or any symptoms you may be experiencing. .

To schedule a visit at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.

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