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When Will I Feel My Baby Move?

In the early weeks you can't even see a bump, but how soon will you begin to feel baby kicks?

Posted: 13 May 2009
by ThinkBaby

Just as you can look around a nursery and see 30 very different children, every fetus will be different. So, whether you're comparing your pregnancy with a friend's, or even trying to judge by your own past experience with an older son or daughter, do bear in mind that there is not one set timetable for when, how or how often a baby moves in the womb.

Early movement
It is unlikely that you will feel anything at all before the fifth month of pregnancy (around 18 to 20 weeks), although some expectant mothers may feel a few flutterings slightly earlier than this, especially those who have been pregnant before. Do not worry if you are already further gone than this and haven't felt anything; the baby's movements do not become more busy and pronounced until around 24 weeks (six months) and even then, they may be brief so a mother on the go may well not notice them.

When the kicks should kick in
By 29 or 30 weeks, you should be feeling more regular movements. Some women begin to sense a pattern in their baby's movements but others might only notice the baby moving when they themselves are have stopped rushing around for the day. This might be because walking around has rocked the baby asleep during the day or simply that because she is not moving so much herself, she is more aware of the movement.

Some babies get hiccups in the womb. This is nothing to worry about and will not cause the mother or the baby any great discomfort or harm.

Keeping tabs on movement
By about the 28th week, you should keep at least a casual check on your baby's movements. If you are confident that you can feel the baby move on what has become to you a regular basis, then this is probably fine.

If you prefer to put your mind at rest by doing a more measured check or because you sense that the movement has markedly slowed down or stopped, then you can try the following:

  • Have something to eat Women often find that an energy rush after eating rouses their baby.
  • Time movements Time how long it takes for you to feel ten movements (no matter how small). If you can discern ten movements in an hour, you have nothing to worry about. If you don't think you have reached that number, have something to eat or drink and try to find somewhere you can sit or rest quietly so you can pay a little more attention to what's going on in your womb. You should be able to count ten movements in about an hour at this second attempt, but if not, it might be worth contacting your midwife, midwife team or doctor.

If you have no other reason to be concerned, don't worry. All babies in the womb have periods where they will rest more, and, while keeping a eye on periods of inactivity is a good idea, they are rarely a sign of a serious problem.

Try not to let checking become an obsession or something you fret about, but, as the birth approaches, do try to keep tabs on the movements a couple of times a day. If you're super-keen, you can now buy a device that allows you to hear your baby's heartbeat and movements, from Baby Beats (the 'Deluxe Doppler') for about £150.

'Slowing down'
As you get into the last two months of pregnancy, there is less room for the baby to move, although this doesn't stop some babies from turning breach or moving to their 'head down' position. It might feel as if the activity has slowed down but it is most likely that the movements have simply become smaller. What you will more discernably feel is less of the busy wriggling of before and more of the bigger movements - the odd protrusion of an elbow or foot - and times when the baby might have got into a position which presses on your ribs.

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