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What You Should Know About Fetal Movement

One of the most magical moments in pregnancy is feeling your baby move for the very first time. That moment of, "Wow, there's really someone in there," is priceless. For some (probably all) new moms-to-be, once the movements of the baby can be felt, it's both a relief and something new to worry about. Is the baby kicking enough? Did I feel the baby kick at all today? Is he or she kicking because something is wrong?

Chances are, what you are (or aren't) feeling is absolutely normal, but here is some information about fetal movement in every trimester to put your mind at ease:

14 Movement Begins At Seven Or Eight Weeks

According to BabyCenter, fetal movement begins at seven or eight weeks- much earlier than you can actually feel anything. The baby is so small, its movements simply lack the strength required for you to feel them. He or she has been moving around much more than you know, you just can't feel it!

This is usually around the time their umbilical cord starts to develop and allows the fetus to move further into the womb and continue to grow its limbs. These movements are usually little jerking motions or startling and bending. And fetuses will react to being startled as early as this stage as well. But again, you probably won't feel it.

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12 Tiny Babies Are Not Predictable

So once you know what you are hoping to feel, you might be tempted to try and get the baby to kick regularly so that you can feel it. Early on (first trimester and beginning of the second trimester), the movement you are able to feel will be incredibly random. You'll probably feel your baby here and there, but not in any kind of regular or predictable way. That will come later.

Women who insist they can feel the baby moving in the first trimester, are usually looked at with skeptisism because the fetus is only the size of a blueberry when they first begin to move, so people who have not been pregnant or those who have and never felt their baby kick that early might think you're reaching.

11 First Time Moms Feel Baby Later

If this is your first baby, then you don't know what you're waiting for exactly. Some moms relate it to the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, or gas bubbles. For most first time moms, feeling your baby move happens somewhere between sixteen and twenty-five weeks of pregnancy. It is called "quickening."

With my older son, the first time I felt him move I was nineteen weeks along. I was sitting with my knees curled against my stomach, and it was only when I was in this position that I could feel the gentle flutters within. Once I knew what I was feeling, I began to notice him moving randomly. It never got old!

10 Second Time Moms Feel Baby Sooner

The benefits of being a second (or third or fourth or fifth) time mom is that you already know the drill. You know what to expect and when to expect it for the most part, and feeling the baby move is part of that now built-in knowledge base you gained from the first time around.

During my second pregnancy, I was able to feel my son's kicks right around sixteen weeks, and I was sure of what I was feeling. Even the second time around, it was just as special as the first.

This could be due to a  number of factors, your body knows what to expect, or you're more in tune with your pregnant body than you were the first time around.  Either way, it is a monumentous day when you feel your baby kick for the first time, not matter whether it's your first or seventh.

9 If You're Busy With Another Child, You Might Not Notice Movements

Kids keep us busy, and they don't stop needing our attention simply because we are creating a sibling for them. It is so easy to go through an entire day pregnant and caring for a toddler, and to not notice movement or kicking from the baby you're expecting. Sometimes, you might even (GASP!) forget that you're pregnant, as you go about the day tending to your older child or children.

It is OKAY. Do not let this be one more thing that adds guilt to your life. If, at the end of the day you realize you haven't felt much from the little one within, you might try eating something sweet or drinking a glass of juice to see if the baby starts kicking or some type of movement to ease your worry.

8 You'll Feel More As Baby Grows

As your baby grows, so will the number of kicks and movements you feel. Right around the end of the second trimester, you should feel kicks regularly, according to your baby's unique schedule, yes they begin to get into a schedule of wakefulness and sleep. Some of your baby's movements might be strong enough to make you jump or gasp in surprise.

Your baby's limbs will continue to grow to their proper proportionate length and once they begin to hear what's going on outside the womb, they have more stimuli to react to, such as dogs barking, music and loud startling noises. This happens around week 14-15.

7 Your Baby Is A Unique Little Person

Surprise, surprise, that little bundle of joy already has his or her own habits in the womb. Some babies are incredibly active in the womb, and some are more calm. According to WebMD, babies move up to thirty times per hour during the third trimester. This comprises of your baby's own schedule of sleeping and waking, which most often will not coincide with your own.

So you may find that your baby's wake cycle is during the middle of the night when you're trying to sleep, and the baby's resting while you're busy during the day. Some mothers worry about these schedules that are off rom their own because it's likely the baby will continue to follow this routine once they're born.

6 Babies Can Interact With You From the Womb

Babies still in utero can respond to what you eat, sounds, and touches to your belly as well. My second son would roll around and kick whenever he heard his older brother talking to him in the womb during my last trimester of his pregnancy. The little one you're carrying is a lot more aware of life on the outside than you think!

This ability to hear in the womb also helps your baby learn language and build bonds with the people who will be closest to them. So you should be mindful about what you listen to, say and how you feel. Even your touch is welcomed by the baby because it builds upon their connection with you.

5 Kick Counts

This is one way some doctors try to set a baseline for the amount of movement you should feel from your baby. Some are in favor of this method, and some are not, so it might be worth mentioning at your next appointment to get his or her opinion on it.

Using this method you'll sit or lie on your side during a normally active time for your baby (you will want to count the movements of your baby at the same time each day for accuracy). You'll measure the amount of time it takes to count ten movements (any movement counts). If, in two hours you have not counted ten movements, stop and contact your doctor.

4 What To Do If Baby Won't Move

Don't panic if your baby isn't moving as much as he or she usually does. My OB once explained it to me this way- your baby is a unique person, and he or she can have lazy days and energetic days too. That said, here are some things you can try to get him or her moving, but above all else-use your instinct. If you feel something is off or wrong, call your doctor or midwife immediately.

Babies should move as much as 20 times a day. If you're ever worried about the movements, make a conscious effort to actively count kicks in the period of one hour. Record this number and take it to your doctor to get a better understanding about how much your baby is moving and whether this is a case for concern.

3 Drink A Glass Of Water And Lay Down

Simple enough, right? Staying hydrated is always recommended, and if you lay down (on your side) you'll be able to more easily feel your baby move. Sometimes babies in the womb are lulled to sleep when we are constantly moving. It's time to stop being a human baby swing and lay down. Grab a book and put those feet up, make the most of the situation. You deserve a break!

You can also try actively bonding with your baby by touching your belly, talking to your belly, and playing music that your baby has responded to in the past. By concentrating on your belly like this, you'll likely notice that your baby is moving more because you've taken the time to focus on your little baby.

2 Drink A Glass Of Juice Or Eat Something Sweet

The sugar content in juice will give your baby a blood sugar rush and should inspire some little kicks and jabs. It is always better to have juice rather than soda, because even though there is a higher sugar content in soda, juice also has vitamins that soda does not. You want to make sure that there is a nutritional benefit to everything you are consuming during pregnancy.

In fact studies say that the more healthy food you eat while you're pregnant might effect the baby's eating habits when they get older because the taste of the healthy food will be familiar to them when they're eating solids.

1 Call Your Doctor Or Midwife

Listen to your instincts and call your doctor or midwife if you're worried- it's what they're there for, and you're not the first mom to call with a concern or worry, big or small. Don't be afraid to speak up. Being your child's advocate is a lifelong job, and it begins before they're born.

Throughout pregnancy there are so many worries waiting at every corner as we progress along the journey to birth. At every stage there is something new to make sure we are doing right. Try to stay calm and know that you are doing your best. You've got this.

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