Baby movements can be anything like a flutter, swish, kick or roll. Feeling the baby move is a sign that wellness.

A mother may feel her baby move as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy, but most of the mothers usually feel something between 18 and 24 weeks. If it is her first pregnancy, she may not notice her baby’s movements until she is more than 20 weeks pregnant.

What does a baby movement feel like?

Baby movements in the mother’s womb, also called as fetal movements, can feel like a flutter, kick, swish or roll. The type of movement may vary as the pregnancy progresses.

How frequent should the baby move?

There is no set number of movements a mother should be feeling – every baby is different.

A mother should feel the baby move from 18-24 weeks. After 32 weeks, the movements will stay roughly the same until she gives birth.

A mother should continue to feel her baby move right up to the time she goes into labour and during labour.

Why are baby’s movements important?

Feeling the baby move is a sign which indicates their wellness. If the baby moves less or if the mother notices a change this can sometimes be an important warning sign that a baby is unwell. If the mother gets the right treatment and care as soon as possible it could even save the baby’s life.

What can cause a mother being able to feel her baby move?

A mother may be less likely to be aware of her baby’s movements when she is active or busy.

If her placenta is at the front of her uterus (womb), it may not be easy for her to feel the baby’s movements. If the baby’s back is lying at the front of the mother’s uterus, she may feel fewer movements than if his or her back is lying alongside her own back.

But do not assume anything if the mother cannot feel her baby’s movements. If the mother thinks her baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed contact the midwife or doctor immediately. It’s always important to get checked.

What happens if the baby’s movements have slowed down?

Less than 24 weeks of pregnancy

Contact the doctor if the mother has never felt her baby move by 24 weeks. They will check the baby’s heartbeat. The mother may have an ultrasound scan and may be referred to a specialist fetal medicine centre to check her baby’s health.

Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy

The mother should contact her doctor or local maternity clinic immediately. It is better not to wait until the next day or next appointment.

The mother will have a full antenatal check-up that includes checking the size of her uterus, measuring her blood pressure and testing urine for protein level. If the mother’s uterus measures smaller or larger than expected, she may have an ultrasound scan to check on her baby’s growth and development.

An ultrasound scan may be arranged if:

The mother’s womb is smaller or larger than usual

The mother has a high risk pregnancy

The baby’s heart rate is normal but still the mother feels that her baby’s movements are slower or reduced

The mother has had reduced fetal movements already in her previous pregnancy.


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