The movement of the fetus is probably the most touching and emotional moment of the whole pregnancy. This is especially true of the first movements. Any expected mother waits for the moment when the baby first makes itself felt. As a rule, this happens by the time when the early toxicosis is behind, the woman has become accustomed to her new position and is waiting for her acquaintance with the baby. The mystery and solemnity of the moment consists also in the fact that no one else in the world has been given this honor, except for mom: to feel the baby for the first time. That’s why every pregnant woman wonders – when will I feel my baby move?
When Does the Baby Starts Moving?
Incredibly, the fetus begins to move from the 8th to the 9th week. However, the baby is still too small. When “swimming”, the baby rarely touches the walls of the uterus, and the mother does not feel these movements. The opinion that some food products are able to “wake up” the baby is most likely wrong – the activity of the children does not depend on the food consumed by the mother. It is believed that the distinct movements of the child for the first time can be felt on average at week 20 – a baby pulls out the arms and the legs, touching the uterus walls.
When Will I Feel My Baby Move?
Everything is very individual, and the timing may vary significantly. Slender women usually feel the first movements sooner. It also depends on the kind of pregnancy. The majority of women with the second pregnancy feel the first movements of the baby already at the 18th week and even earlier. In general, women experience fetal movement during repeated pregnancies approximately 2-4 weeks earlier. This happens mainly because the woman is already familiar with this sensation, and the muscles of the uterus are already prepared for this. Women who are pregnant for the first time may not feel the baby even at the 24th week. If the doctor assures you that the pregnancy is proceeding normally, you and the baby are in perfect condition, then there is no need to worry about the lack of movement. Very soon they will become regular and distinct, and you will definitely recognize them.
Usually by the 24th week, your loved ones can experience the joy of the baby’s movements. The movements are strong enough for other people to feel them. But will the baby want to “talk” to “strangers”? If only he/she is accustomed to their voice and frequent touch of the hand.
With an increase in the duration of pregnancy, the movements of the baby should be increased in intensity and strength. At week 20, the fetus makes an average of 200 movements per day, and between 28 and 32 weeks their number reaches its maximum: 600 movements. Before childbirth, the child has already grown enough, there is already very little space in the tummy, so the number of movements gradually decreases, although their strength remains the same or even increases.
What Is the Baby Doing in the Womb?
What are the movements of a child in the womb like? Women who look forward to this moment are afraid to miss it, so they want to have a very accurate picture of what is coming. But in each of them the first movements of the child evoke various associations: for some, they feel like the fluttering of a butterfly or the splashing of a fish, while for others it resembles stroking, tickling, or the most ordinary pushes.
So far, the child has only one task: to grow. But this is a very complicated process, preparing a small organism for independent living. And for this, the baby needs to learn a lot. Often on the ultrasound you can see how he sucks a finger. But the child already knows much more! Already from the ninth week of pregnancy, the fetus can swallow the amniotic fluid, and this is a complex motor process. He smacks his lips, stretches himself, moves his limbs, etc. At 17 weeks the fetus begins to blink. At 18 weeks – the baby touches the umbilical cord, squeezes and unclenches the fingers of his hands, touches the face and even covers the face after loud and unpleasant sounds.
How Often Does the Baby Move?
The nature of the motor activity of the fetus is a kind of “sensor” of the course of pregnancy. By how intensely and often the movement is felt, one can indirectly judge whether the pregnancy is safely proceeding and how the baby feels. Approximately until the 26nd week, while the fetus is still rather small, the expectant mother can mark long intervals (up to a day) between episodes of fetal movement. This does not mean that the baby does not move for so long. It means that a woman may not notice some pushes, because the fetus is still not strong enough, and the future mother has not learned well enough to recognize the movements of her child. But from 26-28 weeks it is considered that the fetus should move 10 times within every two or three hours.
Calendar of Fetal Movements
Obstetricians and gynecologists have developed a special “calendar of fetal movements.” During the day, the woman counts how many times her baby has moved, and records the time when every tenth movement occurred. If it seems to a pregnant woman that the baby has calmed down, it is necessary to take a comfortable position, relax, eat something and note for two hours how many times the baby has moved during this period. If there are 5-10 movements, then there is nothing to worry about. When the mother does not feel the movements of the baby for 2 hours, she should walk or go up and down the stairs, and then calmly lie down. As a rule, these activities help to activate the fetus, and movements will resume.
If this does not happen, you should consult a doctor in the next 2-3 hours. The nature of the movement is a reflection of the functional state of the fetus, so you need to listen to them. If you noticed that in recent days the child has begun to move less, you should also consult a doctor to check how the baby feels.
The 3rd Trimester
By the third trimester of pregnancy, future mothers, as a rule, are already well aware of the nature of the movements of their children and may notice any changes in the “behavior” of babies. For most women, the disturbing sign is a violent, too active pushes. However, increased motor activity is not a pathology and is most often associated with the uncomfortable position of the expectant mother, when less oxygen is temporarily supplied to the fetus due to a decrease in blood flow.
It is known that when a pregnant woman lies on her back or sits, strongly leaning back, the fetus begins to move more actively than usual. This is due to the fact that the pregnant uterus squeezes blood vessels, which, in particular, carry blood to the uterus and placenta. When they are pressed, blood enters the fetus through the umbilical cord in a smaller volume. As a result, the baby feels the lack of oxygen and begins to move more actively. If you change the position of the body, for example, sit down tilted forward or lie on the side, the blood flow will be restored, and the fetus will move with the usual activity.
Diagnosis of the Woman’s Condition by the Nature of the Movement of the Baby
How can a woman diagnose her condition and condition of a child by the nature of the child’s movement, as well as detect any abnormalities during pregnancy in time? This question is asked by many women who know the detrimental consequences of not paying attention to the signs that the human body gives.
For any deviations in the child’s behavior, the woman should contact an obstetrician-gynecologist for an additional examination. If the expectant mother cannot quickly reach the doctor, it is necessary to call an ambulance specialist who will listen to the fetal heartbeat. Normally, it should be 120- 160 beats per minute. After that, the doctors will send the woman to a medical facility for further diagnostic procedures.
Even if there are no abnormalities in the fetal heart rhythm, the doctor prescribes a cardiotochographic examination, which will allow to determine whether the child is experiencing oxygen starvation. During the study, the doctor attaches a special sensor at the level of the anterior abdominal wall of the woman’s abdomen. The future mother holds in her hand a button, which she presses every time she feels the movement of the child. This information is displayed graphically, and the doctor can determine the status of the baby’s heart rate. It should be noted that Cardiocotography is most effective at gestational age from 30 to 32 weeks.
Constant movement of the baby and an increase in the abdomen of the woman in size indicates the normal course of pregnancy. The future mother should remember that the only way to understand the baby’s condition is precisely baby’s movements. Therefore, a woman should approach the assessment and diagnosis of the movements of the child with maximum responsibility.