Your Questions About Fetal Movement Answered

Feb 10, 2023
Your Questions About Fetal Movement Answered
When your baby starts to move, it’s exhilarating. It also raises questions about what’s normal and what to expect. Read on to get your questions about fetal movement answered.

You're pregnant! One of the most magical parts of the pregnancy journey is feeling your baby move and kick in your womb. 

Once you get through the first trimester you may wonder when you’ll start feeling your baby’s movement. Here are some answers from the OB/GYN team at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in South Bay, Redondo Beach, and Beverly Hills, California. 

When does movement start?

While you might not feel it at first, your baby is moving from very early on. Ultrasound can show movement as early as six to eight weeks of gestation. Of course, because the fetus is so small, you won’t feel these early movements yet.  

Usually, you begin to notice your baby moving around 20 weeks. Some feel movement earlier, at 17-18 weeks gestation. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t yet felt your baby move and you’re past 20 weeks gestation. A routine ultrasound can confirm your baby’s health, but their position in the womb may cushion their movement. 

How do I know I’m feeling my baby?

Many moms describe the first movements they feel as flutters. Sometimes, the movement sensation is super subtle. At first, it might feel like a butterfly’s wings brushing the inside of your belly. 

Later on, between 24 and 28 weeks, it’s clearly a kick. At this point, others may feel the movement by placing a hand on your abdomen. Some women can even make out the baby’s elbow or knee. 

What is the baby doing to make movements?

Babies do all sorts of movements in the womb. They flex and extend their arms and legs. Your baby can even develop hiccups in utero. If they’re large enough, you can feel the recurring jerks of their hiccups. 

Your baby may also switch positions, causing a big movement sensation. Position changes can sometimes alleviate or cause pain, depending on where your baby settles.

Will fetal movements hurt?

Sometimes, fetal movements can be uncomfortable for you. The baby may press a foot or arm against your ribs or abdomen. It can cause sharp, dull, or numbing pain. 

If you’re at all concerned, contact our office right away. Report all pain so we can ensure something more serious isn’t going on. 

How often should my baby move?

In earlier stages of pregnancy, it’s common for baby kicks to happen periodically, with long periods between them. 

Around the beginning of your third trimester, fetal movement becomes pretty regular. Most babies develop their own movement patterns so you can predict how often you feel them kick or shift. 

Sometimes, you may have to make an effort to feel the baby move. Lie on your side somewhere quiet and place your hand on your belly. Concentrate for a bit until you notice the baby moving. 

If you are accustomed to feeling your baby move regularly and the pattern suddenly changes, contact us to check everything is OK. Know that baby’s movements slow down as you approach the end of your pregnancy. Your baby has less room to move because they’ve grown bigger.

Every pregnancy is different and some babies are more active than others. If you’re concerned about your baby’s movement, or lack of it, reach out. We’re ready to support you throughout your pregnancy. 

Call Women’s Care of Beverly Hills at our South Bay, Redondo Beach, or Beverly Hills, California offices, or use the online tool to book.