When Can You Feel Baby Move?
Flutters, Kicks and Quickening
Most women feel quickening, or their baby's first movements in utero, around 16 to 25 weeks gestation. Movement becomes more consistent around 30 weeks.
Feeling your baby start to move is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. Many expectant mothers wait eagerly for this sign that their baby is developing on schedule, and women often describe these first movements as the moment that the baby inside became real rather than just an image on an ultrasound screen. First-time mothers often feel movement when they are between 16 and 25 weeks along. Mothers who have been pregnant before typically can feel movement sooner—as early as 11 to 13 weeks. Regardless of when it happens, feeling your baby move for the first time is an experience to remember.
A baby's first movements are called "quickening," and most women start to feel them sometime in the second trimester. If you've been pregnant before, you might feel movement sooner, both because you know what it feels like and because your uterus is already relaxed from a previous pregnancy. If you are a first-time mother, you might wonder if the early twitches and flutters are gas, nausea or muscle spasms, but as your baby gets bigger, you'll be able to tell when she is stretching and moving around. While some women find these movements to be uncomfortable, most enjoy this sensation of feeling their baby.
Rocking and Rolling
As your baby continues to grow inside of you, it will become easier to feel her moving around. Your baby will wave, kick, turn and stretch out until she starts to run out of space. Eventually you and other people will be able to see your baby moving from the outside of your body. Babies tend to move more at certain times of day as they alternate between sleep and wakefulness. You might also notice that your baby moves more when you eat certain foods or do specific activities. As you get into the later weeks of pregnancy, you might find that, while still active, your baby starts to move less. If you are carrying a particularly active kicker, this might be a bit of a relief for your bruised ribs or bladder.
Many women carrying twins wonder if they will feel more activity, or feel it sooner, since they are carrying two babies. Interestingly, women carrying twins report feeling movement around 18 to 20 weeks gestation, which is about the same for women carrying singletons. As your twins grow, you might feel each baby kicking and moving individually. They might kick in a similar direction or kick in entirely different directions, depending on how they are positioned inside of you. As with singletons, twins generally slow down their movement after they grow larger and begin to run out of space in your uterus.
When to Call a Doctor
Many women wonder if counting kicks can help them to know if there is a problem developing with their baby. There are differing opinions about kick counts, so ask your doctor for more information about this. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends choosing a time each day when your baby is normally active to sit still and note how long it takes you to feel 10 movements. You should feel these 10 movements in less than 2 hours. If you don't, check again later in the day. If you still don't feel 10 movements, or if your baby is much less active than normal, call your doctor, who can check your baby's movements and heartbeat.