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Your Baby’s Movements: What’s Normal And When To Worry

Pregnancy is a time of anticipation, and one of the ways expectant mothers connect with their growing baby is through movement. Feeling those tiny kicks, rolls, and wiggles is reassuring and a sign of a healthy, active baby. But what constitutes normal, and when should you become concerned about your baby’s movements? This article will explore the ins and outs of monitoring your baby’s movements, from understanding the patterns to recognising potential red flags.

The sensation of your baby moving inside your womb is magical and comforting. These movements often serve as a constant reminder of your baby’s well-being. However, it is important to clearly understand what healthcare professionals consider normal in terms of fetal movements.

1. Understanding Normal Fetal Movements

a. Early Flutters

In the early stages of pregnancy, you may feel gentle flutters or “butterfly” sensations. These are often the first signs of fetal movement and may be subtle.

b. Increasing Activity

pregnant woman feeling baby's kicks- Your Baby's Movements


As your pregnancy progresses, so does your baby’s activity level. During the second trimester, you will likely observe more pronounced movements, such as kicks and stretches.

c. Patterns Develop

Around the third trimester, your baby will establish movement patterns. Some babies are more active during specific times of the day, while others have a more consistent activity level.

d. Sleep-Wake Cycle

pregnant mother feeling baby's kicks

Just like newborns, babies in the womb have sleep-wake cycles. It is normal for your baby to have periods of rest followed by increased activity.

2. Monitoring Your Baby’s Movements

a. Kick Counts

Many doctors recommend doing daily kick counts during the third trimester. This involves tracking the time it takes for your baby to make ten distinct movements. It is a simple yet effective way to ensure your baby is active and healthy.

b. Using a Kick Chart

pregnant woman maintaining a kick chart- Your Baby's Movements

You can create a kick chart by noting the time of day and the number of movements you feel. Over time, you will notice patterns that are unique to your baby.

c. Factors That Affect Movements

Various factors, including activity level, meals, and stress, can influence your baby’s movements. Be aware of how these factors may affect your baby’s activity.

3. When to Seek Medical Attention

a. Decreased Movements

If you notice a significant decrease in your baby’s movements or a sudden change in their typical pattern, it is essential to contact your doctor immediately. Reduced movements could be a sign of distress.

b. Persistent Hiccups

pregnant woman with pain

While hiccups are normal, persistent, and rhythmic, hiccups can be a sign of cord compression or other issues. If this occurs, consult your doctor.

c. Sudden, Severe Pain

If you experience sudden, severe pain accompanied by decreased fetal movements, seek immediate medical attention, as it could be a sign of complications.

d. Trust Your Instincts

pregnant woman in pain

Always trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, do not hesitate to contact your doctor for reassurance.

4. Tips for Enhancing Fetal Movements

a. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can affect the amount and intensity of fetal movements. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

b. Change Positions

pregnant woman sleeping

Changing your position or lying down on your left side can encourage your baby to move.

c. Gentle Poking

Gently poke or prod your belly to stimulate movement. Sometimes, your baby may be in a position where their movements are less noticeable.

Monitoring your baby’s movements is a valuable part of your pregnancy journey. It builds a strong bond between you and your baby and provides crucial insights into their well-being. Understanding what to expect regarding fetal movements and knowing when to seek medical attention if you have concerns is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Remember that you are your baby’s best guide, and trusting your instincts can lead to timely care.

This article is approved by Dr. Sonal Singhal, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital.

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