FIRST FETAL MOVEMENT:
When should I start to feel my baby move?
You probably won't feel your baby kick until sometime between 16 and 22 weeks, even though he started moving at 7
or 8 weeks and you may have already witnessed his acrobatics if you've had an ultrasound.
Veteran moms tend to notice those first subtle kicks — also known as "quickening" — earlier than first-time moms.
(A woman who's been pregnant before can more easily distinguish her baby's kick from other belly rumblings, such as
Your build may also have something to do with when you'll be able to tell a left jab from a hunger pang. Thinner
women tend to feel movement earlier and more often than women who carry more weight.
What does it feel like?
Women have described the sensation as being like popcorn popping, a goldfish swimming around, or butterflies
fluttering. You'll probably chalk up those first gentle taps or swishes in your belly to gas or hunger pains, but
once you start feeling them more regularly, you'll recognize the difference. You're more likely to feel these early
movements when you're sitting or lying quietly.
How often should I feel movements?
At first the kicks you notice will
be few and far between. In fact, you may feel several movements one day and then none the next. Although your baby
is moving and kicking regularly, many of his jerks and jolts aren't yet strong enough for you to feel. But later in
the second trimester, those reassuring kicks will become stronger and more regular.
If you're tempted to compare notes with other pregnant women, don't worry if your experience differs from that of
your friends. Every baby has his own pattern of activity, and there's no correct one. As long as your baby's usual
activity level doesn't change too much, chances are he's doing just fine.
Do I need to keep track of the kicking?
feeling kicks regularly, pay attention to them and let your practitioner know right away if you notice a decrease
in your baby's movement. Less movement may signal a problem, and you'll need a nonstress test or biophysical
profile to check on your baby's condition.
Once you're in your third trimester, some practitioners will recommend that you spend some time each day counting
your baby's kicks. There are lots of different ways to do these "kick counts," so ask for specific
Here's one common approach: Choose a time of day when your baby tends to be active. (Ideally, you'll want to do the
counts at roughly the same time each day.) Sit quietly or lie on your side so you won't get distracted. Time how
long it takes for you to feel ten distinct movements — kicks, twitches, and whole body movements all count. If you
don't feel ten movements in two hours, stop counting and call your midwife or doctor.