There's not really a good way to describe what it feels like when your baby starts moving around in your belly. At first, some women liken it to butterflies in your stomach or a fish swimming around. But eventually, that little baby wiggling in there gets bigger and starts to run out of room. Then you end up with the baby's feet kickboxing your ribs and his head pressing down on your bladder.
You'll probably feel your baby's first movements, called quickening, somewhere between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If you are expecting for the first time, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. If you've had previous pregnancies, you may start to feel movements even earlier. You're more likely to feel your baby move when you're in a quiet position, either sitting or lying down.
Depending on how far along you are, or how big your baby is, other people might be able to place a hand on your belly and feel the baby kicking . . . and rolling and twisting and stretching out! If your baby gets the hiccups, you'll know it. You might also get to see the baby poking his arms and feet up into your skin like he's trying to elbow his way right out of your belly. This can be exciting and funny, but also . . . kind of painful, and to some, a little gross. Feeling or seeing life moving around in a mother's belly is a beautiful thing, but to some, it can be a little weird. We've rounded up some of the craziest belly movements we could find on the internet.
15 This Baby's Got Moves
Whoa! You can practically make out this baby's fingers and toes as he rolls around his mama's belly. The baby's movements get really nuts around 1:26 when you see a big swirl (An arm? A leg?) move from the front of her belly to the back. The limb disappears and then the mama's whole belly quakes as the baby tumbles around!
Fetal Movement Facts: Early in your pregnancy, you may feel a few fluttery movements every now and then. You might even wonder if you have tummy trouble or gas. But usually, by the end of the second trimester, those kicks should get stronger and more frequent. Some studies show that by the third trimester, the baby can move as much as 30 times in an hour! Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between being awake and asleep. Due to your changing blood sugar levels, babies are often active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.--probably right as you're trying to go to sleep!
14 That Looks Like it Hurts!
This baby in this mama's belly starts out with what looks like a gentle ripple, and then a pointy limb protrudes through the mama's belly. Maybe it's an elbow, maybe it's a foot? Things seem calm for a few moments and then two limbs pop up again near the mom's belly button!
Fetal Movement Facts: During the day, while you're at work or busy doing things, your body's movements can lull the baby to sleep. You also might be so busy--or eventually, so used to the feeling--that you don't even notice the baby moving. If you really want to catch your baby in the act, you'll probably feel him or her moving when you relax and settle down in bed at night. You're also more likely to feel your baby kick and move after you eat; the surge in your blood sugar may give your little one a little energy!
13 That's Your Mom, Not a Punching Bag!
You can see the baby swirling and rolling around at the start of the video, and then--ouch! The baby's feet (or fists?) start using mom's belly as a punching bag! The baby's little limbs poke and push out on mom's skin repeatedly around her belly button, getting especially crazy around 2:52!
Fetal Movement Facts: As your baby grows and develops he will stretch and flex his arms and legs. As you progress through your pregnancy, the movements will become more obvious, like kicking, punching, and rolling over. Your baby may also begin to respond to noise or how you're feeling. If you're nervous or anxious, your body releases adrenaline, which can make your baby just as jittery and jumpy as you are! Also, your baby may be uncomfortable depending on the position that you're in, so he or she may squirm or wriggle around to find a more comfortable spot.
12 Double the Fun!
Feeling your baby move is a weird and wondrous thing, but when you're pregnant with twins, it's double the hands and feet poking at you! This twin mom can actually poke, prod, and practically hold whatever body part is protruding through her belly. Those babies are stretching out so much that at times, the mom's belly looks more pointed than round! You'll probably sound a lot like the person holding the camera when you watch this: "Wow! Whoa! Wow!"
Fetal Movement Facts: Just because you're pregnant with twins, doesn't mean you'll feel them moving any earlier than someone only having one baby. Most twin moms start to feel movement around the same time as any other mom, although if you've been pregnant before, you might feel some movement sooner. You'll be able to feel both babies moving, and eventually, you'll probably be able to figure out which baby is kicking you in the lungs.
11 Watch the Ribs!
At 39 weeks and two days, it's almost go time for this mother and baby. When the video starts, the mom's belly looks smooth and round. Then, as baby begins to move, her stomach rolls and undulates in response to her touch. Her belly's not so round as the baby presses his feet into the side of mom's belly near her ribs. Ouch!
Fetal Movement Facts: Your baby will respond to sound and even light while in utero. Near the end of your pregnancy, you may even be able to play games with your baby. The next time you see a protruding body part (A knee? An elbow? A foot?) gently press down on it and leave your hand just barely hovering over your skin. You might see the appendage disappear for a second and then feel the baby push back out at you again. You can also try having someone talk to your baby, and see if he responds to the sound of their voice near your skin.
10 Hic... Hic... Hiccup!
It almost looks like a heartbeat in this mom's belly, but what you're seeing is her baby hiccuping! Some babies may get hiccups occasionally. Others may get them all the time, or not at all. It's a funny thing to feel (and watch!), that's for sure!
Fetal Movement Facts: Your baby's brutal kicks and karate chops aren't the only movements you'll feel in your belly. You might occasionally feel repeated, rhythmic spasms. If you do, you are feeling your baby's hiccups. They are completely normal and harmless, and they don't cause the baby any discomfort. In order for a baby to hiccup, its central nervous system must be fully developed. The central nervous system is what gives the baby the ability to breathe in amniotic fluid. A hiccup occurs when fluid enters and exits the lungs, causing the diaphragm to rapidly spasm or contract. Fetal hiccups are pretty common and can even be seen on an ultrasound as jumping or rhythmic movements. It is thought that hiccups help regulate the baby's heart rate and prepare the lungs for healthy respiration after birth.
9 It's Hard to Get Comfortable When You're Getting Kicked from the Inside!
Yikes! This mom seems to be relaxing comfortably on her side and then her belly starts to roll and swell as her baby moves around. Right near the end of the video, mom's belly button starts to stick out (way out!) as baby kicks vigorously and repeatedly in that area.
Fetal Movement Facts: The location of the placenta can affect how much of your baby's movement you feel. If you have an anterior placenta, the placenta is located in the front of your uterus. It will kind of serve as a pillow between your baby and your belly, and you might not be able to feel as many movements or kicks. Also, your doctor may find it a little bit harder to find the baby's heartbeat. Despite these issues, an anterior placenta doesn't pose any risk to you or the baby. And sometimes, the placenta will eventually move into a more posterior position later on in your pregnancy.
8 A Tumble in Her Tummy!
At the beginning of this video, the baby's movements are faint little jiggles and wiggles in the mom's belly as she breathes slowly in and out. The next thing you know, the baby looks like she's doing somersaults in there!
Fetal Movement Facts: It's a good idea to be aware of fetal movement throughout your pregnancy, but don't be alarmed if you notice a decrease in movement. You may miss some of the baby's movements early on in your pregnancy because your baby is still so small. You might also miss some kicks if the baby is curled up or turned inwards. Your baby's most active period is at night, so you could even be sleeping right through them. As you progress through your pregnancy, your baby will eventually develop a somewhat regular sleep and wake cycle. Sometimes you might not feel your baby move because he's deep in sleep, so relax and enjoy it!
7 That Baby's Movin'!
It's hard to tell what limbs are poking up through the mom's belly in this video because the baby is so active! There are some painful looking moments when the baby's pointy knee or elbow come poking up near the mom's belly button.
Fetal Movement Facts: Later in your pregnancy, your doctor may ask you to start "counting kicks" or counting fetal movements. Set aside some quiet time twice a day to count kicks, once in the morning and once in the evening. Check the clock and start counting. You can count movement of any kind, whether it's a kick, a flutter, or a somersault. When you get to 10 movements, you can stop counting. In an hour or less, 10 movements are pretty normal. If you don't feel 10 movements within an hour, have a snack or some juice, lie down, and keep counting. If it takes you more than two hours to feel 10 movements, you may want to contact your doctor. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong, but it never hurts to be on the safe side!
6 Get 'Em Going!
Sometimes waiting for your baby to move can take a little while. As the cameraman in the video says, you may have to, "Get 'em going." And that's exactly what this mama does. She presses her hand on her belly just under her navel a few times, and soon after, a little limb starts punching its response through her skin! As mom continues to press around on her belly, the baby fights back with more punches and jabs, and eventually, some really big ripples!
Fetal Movement Facts: If your little one's kicks and punches start to become uncomfortable, try changing positions. If you're standing, sit down for a minute. And vice versa, if you're sitting down, stand up and stretch. You might also try lying on your side for a little while. Your baby will hopefully respond to your change in positions by moving around and giving you a bit of a break!
5 Like Motion in the Ocean
This mom's belly is in constant motion as her baby stretches and tumbles around. You can see limbs poking and pressing out in all directions. It's hard to tell what's what. Is that a hand? Is that a foot? What was that?! Just when it seems like the baby calms down and becomes still, a big wave rolls across the mother's skin. Even big sister gets to feel as she places her hand on her mom's stomach.
Fetal Movement Facts: Towards the end of your pregnancy, your baby will start packing on the pounds pretty rapidly. And as baby nears his full length and weight, he will inevitably start to run out of room in the womb! Some babies might not be able to do any big, tumbling somersaults anymore, especially if they settle into a head down position, but you will still be able to feel wriggling, turning, knee jabs, and elbow pokes.
4 Legs Here, Bottom Here, Head Here
When this video starts, the mom's belly is a perfect, still circle. A few moments into it, though, and the baby starts to do his/her thing! You can see the limbs poking out, and the parents helpfully labeled the location of the baby's legs, bottom, and head!
Fetal Movement Facts: You can try to use the location of your baby's kicks and jabs to figure out how he is positioned in the womb. If your belly button is sticking way out and you feel kicking under your ribs, chances are your baby is in the anterior position and his back is facing the front of your belly. If it seems like your belly is flatter or you feel baby kicking at the front of your belly, your baby probably has his back aligned with your back. If you feel a lump near the top of your belly but can't tell what it is, gently press on it. If the whole baby moves, you probably pressed on his bottom! If the lump moves all by itself, it's probably the baby's head. Your baby is probably head down if you feel the kicks above your belly button or hiccups down low in your belly.
3 She's Trying to Relax!
This mama is trying to relax and enjoy some sun near the end of her pregnancy. It seems like her baby is enjoying the warm sunshine, too! The baby's legs/feet/knees can be seen moving on one side of the mama's belly. The person with the camera says she's having a hard time seeing the movement on screen, but we don't have any problem seeing that baby kick!
Fetal Movement Facts: When your baby engages or "drops" headfirst into the pelvis before delivery, any movement patterns you've come to recognize could end up changing. This usually happens two or three weeks before the due date in first-time moms, and closer to the due date for repeat moms. While it can be a relief to finally no longer have feet tap-dancing on your ribs, your baby's head is now most likely pushing down on your bladder and putting pressure on your cervix. You might even feel sharp, little zinging twinges close to your cervix.
2 Wait For It!
At the beginning of this video, the mom's belly looks completely round. It's hard to tell if the baby is moving, or if the mom is just taking big, deep breaths. And then, look out! All of a sudden, the baby's limbs start moving underneath her skin, coming to a big, triangular point right above her belly button! Wow!
Fetal Movement Facts: The ideal baby position for delivery is head down with the baby facing your back. However, about 3 to 4 percent of babies are still head up by the time they are full term. This is known as being in the breech position. There are three different types of breech positions:
Frank breech: The most common breech position. Baby’s bottom is down with his legs pointing upward, feet near his head.
Complete breech: Baby’s head is up, his butt is down, and his legs are crossed.
Footling breech: Baby is feet first. His head is up with one or both feet hanging down.
Chances are pretty good your baby will eventually end up in the head down position before D-Day; some babies don't turn head down until a few days before delivery. However, if he is still bottom down, you'll need to remain calm and be flexible about your birth plan. A vaginal delivery could be difficult or impossible. You can try some exercises and stretches to turn the baby on your own, or your doctor may recommend a procedure to turn the baby. Be sure to talk your plans over with your practitioner ahead of time to prepare yourself for any possibilities when you deliver.
1 Be on the Lookout!
This video is captioned "Attempted Escape from the Womb" and it's no wonder why! It's hard to know what spot to watch because the baby is moving around so much. First you see some movement down on the side of the mom's belly, then you see movement near the front. As the mom presses on her side, you can see a limb poke out near the top, and then a limb pops out near the side as if the baby is looking for the pressure mom's hand again!
Fetal Movement Facts: You may have heard that as labor nears, your baby will move less. Even though he's taking up more room in your uterus, he shouldn't necessarily become less active. In fact, his movement may even feel more pronounced as he gets stronger and his accommodations get tighter. The last few weeks before childbirth vary from woman to woman and baby to baby. Some babies may move less, and others may keep on kicking right up until go time!