One of pregnancy’s joyous milestones is feeling your baby move for the first time. These movements – called fetal movements – can help determine if your baby is developing appropriately. CentraState OB-GYN Benoit Mapa, DO, explains fetal movements and what you should watch for.
Q: When do women typically begin feeling fetal movements?
A: Early in the pregnancy, your baby may move quite a bit, but you don’t notice it because you’re moving, too. Most pregnant women begin to feel their baby move around 20 weeks. This gentle sensation is called quickening. Fetal kicking – more vigorous movement – becomes more noticeable around 26 weeks. If you don’t feel your baby move by 24 weeks, talk to your doctor.
Q: Should you keep a diary of your baby’s movements?
A: Ten kicks every one to two hours is a positive sign of your baby’s well-being. It’s important to pay attention to these movements so you know what activity level is normal for your baby. Like adults, babies have sleep-wake cycles. You should begin to see patterns in your baby’s movement. You don’t have to keep a diary, but take note of how much movement is normal and when your baby is most active. If movements decrease, you may need to be evaluated by your doctor.
Q: When can others feel the baby’s movements?
A: Your partner, family members and friends can feel the baby kick early in the third trimester, around week 27.
Q: What can make a baby more active?
A: Encouraging fetal movements can help us assess your baby’s health. Playing music can often spur movement, but sometimes the best thing to do is sit still and concentrate on what you’re feeling. It’s easier to count kicks when you’re relaxed and able to focus just on the baby.
Q: When should pregnant moms be concerned?
A: Call your doctor if you see marked changes in your baby’s normal activity patterns or if movements don’t feel as strong as they had been. Your doctor may recommend testing. More than 99 percent of the time, there’s no cause for alarm. However, in some cases, a lack of or decrease in movement is a signal that there may be an issue. It’s important to be vigilant with kick counting so you can inform your doctor if something seems off. I tell my patients that they are never wrong for calling the office with a question or concern.
Get Ready for Baby
CentraState’s prenatal health program helps parents prepare for their special delivery. The program includes 40 videos, plus live Q&A sessions with the instructor. Learn more and sign up: www.centrastate.com/prenatal