What to Expect from Fetal Movements During Pregnancy

Fetal movements during pregnancy, such as kicks, jabs, and twists, are memorable sensations that indicate the unborn child is growing larger and stronger. Here’s what to expect from these essential developmental signs during pregnancy and labor, helping you better understand your baby’s progress.

One of the most unforgettable experiences of pregnancy is the first time you feel your unborn child move. It indicates that the fetus is getting larger and more robust. In addition, it acts as a reminder of how far you’ve come during your pregnancy and as a new parent.

Alongside these emotions of comfort, you may question what to anticipate and watch out for. When will you begin to feel the baby’s movements? When will others think them? How much movement is anticipated? What must you do if they cease?

Here is information about fetal movements and what to anticipate throughout pregnancy.

What Constitutes Fetal Movements?

Fetal movements are the movements of a fetus within the uterus (womb). Arms and legs may be extended and flexed, or the entire body may be moved. The first time you feel the fetus move is known as quickening. Each individual and each pregnancy experience fetal movements in their own unique ways.

Some individuals describe the first movements they experience as a flutter, stir, bubbling, or wiggle. The fetal motions become stronger as the pregnancy proceeds and are frequently described as kicks, pinches, jabs, and twists.

Initially, it may be difficult to differentiate fetal movements from gas, muscle twitches, hunger pangs, and other physiological movements. However, as your pregnancy advances and the fetal movements become more pronounced, they should become simpler to recognize.

What Should You Expect Each Trimester?

You will unlikely experience fetal movement during the first trimester (weeks 1 to 13). Your unborn child begins to move during the 12th week of pregnancy, but you won’t feel it because the fetus is still so small. During this stage of pregnancy, ultrasounds can reveal fetal movement.

The second trimester (weeks 14 to 26) is the most likely time to initially detect fetal movement.

“Beginning in the second half of the second trimester and the third trimester, fetal movement is experienced. The movement may initially feel like a flutter and then intensify as the baby grows,” says Dr. Julia Cooper, an obstetrician, and gynecologist at Kidz Medical Services in South Florida.

In most cases, the first fetal movements are felt between weeks 13 and 25 of pregnancy. Fetal movement may begin around the 20th week if this is your first pregnancy. Those who have previously been pregnant are able to detect fetal movement earlier, perhaps as early as the 13th week.

Once you have experienced fetal movement, you should continue to feel them throughout your pregnancy and labor. During the third trimester (27 to 40 weeks), the fetal movements should become stronger and more consistent until the conclusion of the trimester, when the fetus has little area to maneuver. Even so, you should continue to feel the baby move frequently.

Some individuals find it easier to detect fetal movements when:

  • Sit still.
  • Take in some music.
  • Place them on their side.
  • Rub their stomach softly.
  • Consume or consume something tasty.

“In utero, infants experience sleep cycles similar to our own,” explains Dr. Cooper. “As the infant ages, these sleep cycles lengthen, resulting in longer periods during which the infant is inactive. However, normal activity should resume as soon as they regain consciousness. Babies also respond to maternal glucose levels by being more active following a meal consumed by the expectant mother,” she says.

However, one should not attempt to induce fetal movement. Instead, you should take notice of the usual for your pregnancy and any trends that emerge. This will allow you to immediately detect any abnormalities, especially decreased or absent movement, which are indications that you should consult a doctor.

Can Your Body Mass Make It Difficult To Feel Movements?

No, it cannot be done. Previously, it was believed that those with a lower body mass experienced fetal movement sooner than those with greater weight, but a study has shown that both groups experience fetal movement at the same rate.

According to Dr. Cooper, overweight individuals should experience fetal movements equal to their non-obese counterparts. Consequently, their partners may have difficulty experiencing or observing the abdominal movement from the outside.

When Can Others Feel the Pregnancy?

It is typically a pleasure for people to experience your baby’s kicks and jabs. Sharing the twists and turns you encounter can help family members bond with a new family member. Others may be able to detect baby movement as early as the 24th week of pregnancy, but it often occurs around the 28th week of pregnancy.

Should Fetal Movements Be Counted?

You should only count fetal movements if instructed to do so by your healthcare provider. If not, you should become accustomed to your unborn kid’s typical movements.

Notate the standard for this pregnancy and contact your health care physician promptly if you observe decreased or absent fetal movements. According to some experts, the least amount of motions you should feel in two hours is 10. Consult with your obstetrician if you feel less than this.

If You Don’t Feel Your Baby Moving, What Should You Do?

By week 24 of your pregnancy, if you have not felt any fetal movements, you should consult with your healthcare physician.

If you observe a significant decrease in movement or no movement at all, you should call your doctor immediately.

Consult your healthcare professional as soon as possible so that they can ensure that the fetus is healthy.

How Long To Wait If The Fetus Does Not Move?

If you observe the fetus moving less frequently or not at all, you should not wait. You should seek medical care immediately.

It is essential to do this as soon as possible so your unborn child may be examined by a medical professional to ensure their health.

Dr. Cooper states, “If the baby is continuously moving less, the expectant woman should be checked immediately by her obstetrician.”

Movements of the fetus are a characteristic feature of a healthy pregnancy. As no two pregnancies are identical, keeping track of what is typical for you is crucial. Movements of the fetus, once detected, should continue throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Consult your doctor promptly if you notice that your unborn child is not moving as frequently as normal.

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