There is no purer joy than feeling your baby’s first kick. Congratulations! You have passed the first trimester which means that you are at lesser risk of miscarriage. The majority of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, affecting between 10-20% of known pregnancies. In addition, up to 60% of miscarriages that happen in the first trimester are due to chromosomal abnormalities.
You may be concerned especially if you have miscarried before, if you are older than 35, or if your physician conveys to you that you have a high-risk pregnancy. Feeling anxious about a potential miscarriage is understandable, but your worrying can be turned into reassurance once you feel your baby’s first movement.
10 The First Trimester
The first trimester is an extremely important one, as all your baby’s major organs are being developed.
At the end of your first trimester, your baby will already be able to stretch, yawn, hiccup, kick, punch, suck his thumb and breathe amniotic fluid to strengthen his lungs. However, it is way too early to detect any movement.
9 When Will I Feel My Baby?
The first movement that you feel from your baby is called a “quickening”. This can occur anywhere between week 13 and week 26, but most women feel it on average in between the 18th and 22nd week.
Why do some women notice movement earlier or later than others? There are various reasons. One is if you have a placenta that is facing in a frontal position, known as an anterior placenta. The placenta serves as a barrier resulting in your baby taking the rear position in your uterus, muffling the detection of movement.
Also, women who have had a baby before may be able to recognize movement as her abdominal muscles are relaxed, in addition that they also know what to expect. Women with smaller frames are more likely to perceive movement than someone who is heavier, overweight or obese. Having a BMI or body mass index in a healthy range causes less risk for pregnancy complications, so eat nutritious meals and exercise so you can introduce your baby to a healthy, prosperous lifestyle.
8 Movement Declines In The Third Trimester
Once you begin your third trimester, do not panic if you feel as though your baby is not the active gymnast she was in the earlier trimesters. The explanation for this is simple, “There isn’t any more room for her to move”.
At the beginning of the 3rd trimester, expect your baby to weigh in between 2-2 ½lbs. At around 8 months, your baby’s weight would double, ranging at about 5lbs. Expect your baby to quickly gain weight, gaining about half a pound each week until you are ready to deliver. That is a whole lot of weight occupying a very limited space, not allowing jabs, punches or kicks to be freely exerted.
You will find that instead, your baby will stretch, roll, or reposition herself so that she can be as comfortable as she can be. As your baby moves lower into your pelvic region and prepares to enter the world, it makes it even more difficult for her to move.
7 How Much Movement Should I Feel?
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your health practitioner will ask that you monitor movement beginning at 28 weeks. All pregnant women should feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours twice a day - usually in the morning and in the later evening. This becomes extremely important as you reach the ending of your pregnancy.
If you are instructed to record your movements, or monitor your “kick counts”, always log data with the date, the time that movement starts, and the time that movement ends. Always make sure that you feel 10 separate movements.
Professionals would like to see that those 10 movements happen within an hour, but if not, try to stimulate your baby by rubbing your belly, playing some music, or having some ice cold water or a snack.
6 Should I Contact My Midwife Or OB?
If you do not feel those 10 movements within 2 hours, or if you see significant changes from the usual pattern of movement over a duration of 3 or 4 days you should contact your doctor or midwife. Do not wait to contact a professional if you do not feel any movement at all in the first, or later times of the day.
Hopefully, you and your baby are safe, however, it is in the best interest that you should be evaluated to confirm that this is true. All red flags should be considered as something potentially serious, so your doctor will most likely investigate the matter through testing.
5 Why Is Fetal Movement So Important?
Fetal movement is important because it provides professionals with information regarding the health of your baby. But most importantly, reduced fetal movement has been connected to intrauterine death, or stillbirth.
According to BabyMed.com, up to 50% of women whose pregnancies resulted in stillbirth experienced a decline in their baby’s movement. Also, according to AmericanPregnancy.org, 1 in 160 pregnancies result in stillbirth.
Your health practitioner will want to administer tests to make sure that you are not suffering from any complications. Some factors that could be responsible for your baby’s decreased movement are anemia, placental abruption, low oxygen levels, too much amniotic fluid, and premature rupture of your membranes.
4 Lie On Your Left Side
Your baby depends a lot on normal and healthy blood circulation to be able to kick and move. Blood circulation is incredibly important throughout pregnancy to ensure that your baby is acquiring enough oxygen, blood, and nutrients to thrive. A technique that many first time moms do not know is that you can support circulation in the position that you sleep.
Yes, sleeping while you are pregnant is not a pleasant experience. As you reach your third trimester, peaceful wonderful sleep does not seem to exist anymore.
An interesting fact to know is that lying down on your left side allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to flow easier to the placenta. The reason for this is the inferior vena cava, the vein most responsible for providing blood circulation from your heart to your lower body region is compressed the least in this position.
3 Don’t Lie On Your Back
Lying on your back is not recommended especially in the second and the third trimesters as the added weight of your belly rests on your spinal cord and intestines. Not only can this cause back pain and hemorrhoids, in addition, the intense heaviness of your baby puts pressure on the inferior vena cava, restricting blood flow and circulation from your heart to your baby.
2 Third Trimester Tests
A non-stress test (NST) is performed after at least 28 weeks into pregnancy. It is a safe way to measure your baby’s heart rate, and to assure your doctor that your baby is not suffering from fetal distress. A healthy heart rate can confirm that your baby is acquiring enough oxygen, as an abnormal heart rate could indicate low oxygen levels, possibly from complications with the placenta and the umbilical cord.
A contraction stress test may be administered if the results from your NST are inconclusive. The duration of this test is long, could take a couple of hours, and is expensive, which give reasons as to why it is uncommon. However, it is conducted with high-risk pregnancies. The goal of this test is to make a hypothesis io how your baby will be able to endure real, stressful, intensive labor.
A biophysical profile is a test that evaluates fetal vitality, looking at things like breathing and heart rate, through the use of an ultrasound and is used when an NST shows to be non-reactive.
Also, you may have an umbilical artery doppler velocimetry which relies on ultrasound to look at the amount of blood flowing through the umbilical cord, and through the placenta and uterus. If the blood flow is inadequate or limited, this is extremely threatening, as your baby is not acquiring the nutrients and oxygen that he needs to thrive.
1 Fetal Distress
Intrauterine resuscitation is the treatment used to treat non-reassuring fetal status. Here are some techniques used that will help save your baby:
- Providing oxygen: you will be given oxygen through a face mask
- Fluids will be given through intravenous
- Your position will be changed to increase blood circulation (you will lie on your left side)
- Amnioinfusion: Saline fluid is transferred into the amniotic cavity to treat meconium (baby feces passed into amniotic fluid) or to treat umbilical cord compression
- Tocolysis: Where the use of medication inhibits contractions
- An emergency Caesarean-section
In conclusion, your baby’s movement is extremely important. Become accustomed to your baby’s routine and be vigilant in noticing any changes or differences. Conveying your concerns to your doctor and reporting any abnormalities in your baby’s movement could save your baby’s life.
So do not be afraid to ask your midwife or doctor any questions or reservations you have, and keep on counting those kicks!