Feeling a baby kicks in the womb is an indescribable feeling. But did you know that there’s more to it than just a beautiful early bonding experience between a mama and her baby?
Table of Contents
What are baby kicks?
When should I start feeling baby kicks?
Where should I feel my baby’s kicks?
Why is counting baby kicks important?
How do I count baby kicks?
How do I get my baby to move?
What should I do when baby kicks are decreasing?
Skip ahead to any section you find the most interesting!
It’s that fluttering feeling in your tummy, the gentle tapping on your belly, or the barely-there tickling sensation. Feeling your baby’s kicks is one of the most amazing moments of your early pregnancy journey. It’s a surefire way to ease any mama’s anxiety because fetal movement signals that your baby is healthy and developing!
On the other hand, noticing a decrease in movement can mean there’s something wrong. In an article published on Parents.com, Ob-Gyn Ruth Fretts, M.D., highlighted that fewer movement in the tummy isn’t always a cause of concern though. “The biggest concern is when it happens repeatedly,” she said.
What Are Baby Kicks In The Womb?
They may be called “kicks” but kicking isn’t the only movement you’re little one is doing inside your womb. They roll, punch, jab, bend, stretch, nudge, and even hiccup. On the outside, it may seem like they’re just having a blast inside your womb, but it’s actually a vital part of their development.
Studies highlight that fetal movement means your baby is growing and getting stronger. Moreover, those little kicks promote healthy bone, muscle, and joint development.
When Should I Start Feeling Baby Kicks?
Fetal movement usually starts anywhere between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. For first-time mamas, it’s usually felt closer to 25 weeks. But if it’s your second pregnancy, you may notice baby kicks as early as 13 weeks. Registered midwife Nicola Strydom tells Today’s Parent that since “you’re more bodily aware,” you’re able to distinguish gas from baby kicks earlier.
The placement of your placenta is also a factor. If you have an anterior placenta—where the placenta is on the front side of the womb—you may feel fetal movement much later. The same goes if you’re overweight.
Around week 32 of your pregnancy, the kicks and jabs may noticeably become more subdued because space is a bit constricted. In turn, you’ll most likely feel them roll around in your tummy.
Where Should I Feel My Baby’s Kicks?
A few factors determine where you’ll feel your baby’s kicks. Early in your pregnancy, they feel like fluttering just below the belly button—that’s why first-time mamas often mistake the early flutters as gas.
As you progress in your pregnancy, you’ll be able to feel them all over your belly, including the upper part of your abdomen. Later in your pregnancy, you can even see the movement under your skin!
Why Is Counting Baby Kicks Important?
According to Project Sidekicks, an initiative by TheAsianParent to reduce the stillbirth rate in Southeast Asia, there were 105,000 stillbirths in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam alone. In the US, the situation is just as grim. Count The Kicks reveals that there are approximately 24,000 stillbirths every year.
And it is exactly for this reason why counting baby kicks is incredibly important. Several studies have highlighted that counting baby kicks help prevent stillbirth. How exactly? As a mama, when you know your baby’s movement, you’ll be able to recognize when something’s awry. As such, you’ll be able to alert your obstetrician or healthcare provider right away and receive any medical attention, if needed.
How Do I Count Baby Kicks?
In general, the beginning of your 28th week of pregnancy is when you can start counting baby kicks. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you’ll want to feel at least 10 kicks within 2 hours.
It’s highly recommended to do this at the same time every day–morning and evening are recommended, as these are the times babies are usually most active. You can do this in several ways:
- Grab a notebook to serve as your baby kick journal. Every day, write down how long it took you to count 10 kicks. Keep it on your bedside table if you prefer to count baby kicks when you wake up, take a nap, or before you go to sleep.
- Download an app on your phone that helps track baby kicks. TheAsianParent’s app comes with this feature.
- Download a baby kick chart and paste it on your fridge. There are many downloadable charts available for you. Placing it in a visible area makes this task easy to remember. Plus, your husband or kids can also remind you when they see your chart unfulfilled for the day.
- Wear a kick counter wristband or bracelet. Consider a kick counter wristband that comes with a slider you need to move every time you feel a kick.
How Do I Get My Baby To Move?
By the third trimester, babies move about 30 times in an hour. But if your little one is feeling a little shy, there are certain tips and tricks to get your baby to kick! Check them out below:
- Eat a snack. A few pieces of chocolate will send a boost of energy, getting them to move.
- Drink a cold beverage. Whether it’s juice or milk, the spike in your blood sugar in tandem with the chilly temperature will more likely be enough to get your baby to move.
- Change your position. Some babies will follow your movement. When you move, your baby moves. Switch it up and see if your little one follows suit.
- Shine a flashlight on your tummy. Babies will move to get away from the light.
- Rest and lay down on your side. Sometimes babies’ movements can only be detected when you’re quiet. See if this works!
- Talk to your baby. Babies start hearing during the second trimester. Talk to your baby and see if your baby reacts!
- Gently poke your belly. More often than not, this trick works to get them to respond!
- Place an ice pack on your belly. Similar to flashing lights against your belly, they will move away from the chilly part of your belly. Don’t worry, this doesn’t hurt them.
What Should I Do When Baby Kicks In The Womb Are Decreasing?
If you’ve noticed a consistent and noticeable change in your baby’s normal baby kicks in the womb, it’s a good time to alert your obstetrician so you and your baby can be properly evaluated. Remember, there’s no harm in being cautious, mama.
Mama’s Choice is proud to support Project Sidekicks. This initiative helps families have healthy pregnancies and babies by promoting three crucial things: sleeping on the side when pregnant, counting your baby’s kicks, and quitting smoking.
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Mama's Choice Team
A team of passionate writers, young mamas, and creative superheroes who help mamas face motherhood one educational article at a time!