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Your Baby's Movements During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a joyous journey with many ups and downs, but one of the most precious moments is when your baby starts to kick. These tiny flutters, which grow stronger as the pregnancy progresses, reassure that the baby is growing and connect you with the little life within you. Read below to learn everything about your baby’s movement during pregnancy.

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What Are the Normal Fetal Movements?

The first awareness is that fetal movements occur when you are 18 to 20 weeks pregnant. If you have had babies before, then you can feel the movements by 16 weeks, and they can be a roll, kick, swish, or flutter. As the baby develops within you, the type of movements and the number will change depending on how active the baby is. Afternoons and evenings are the peak activity times for the baby. The baby sleeps between 20 and 40 minutes, which is when they do not move and do not last for more than 90 minutes. The movements increase until 32 weeks, and then remain the same, though the type of movement changes. It is essential to feel the baby's movement until labour.

Baby Movement Timeline

  • Week 12: The baby starts to move, but you may not feel any movement as it is subtle and the baby is small.
  • Week 16: Some women feel a flutter like a tiny butterfly moving. It can be gas or the baby moving.
  • Week 20: The movement becomes more pronounced, and you can feel small twitches as the baby hiccups.
  • Week 28: There are frequent movements by the baby and there can be jabs and kicks that are quite strong.
  • Week 36: The movements are slow as the baby grows, and there is less space in the uterus. However, you should be aware of any changes in the baby’s usual activity and there should be consistent movement throughout the day.

You should feel the baby move between 16 and 24 weeks, and if you have not felt it even after 24 weeks, you must talk to your healthcare provider and get the baby’s movements and heartbeat checked. The baby's movement should be felt up until labour. Also, note that other people may not feel the movement even by placing a hand on the bump; it is not the same for everyone. You will feel the baby move while lying down or sitting quietly.

Why is a Baby’s Movement Important, and How Often Should It Move?

During pregnancy, the baby’s movement is a reassurance that all is well. If you feel that the baby is not moving as much as it does or have seen any change in movement patterns, it can be a sign that something’s not right, and you should contact your healthcare provider to assess the baby’s wellbeing.

During early pregnancy, there will be a few flutters once in a while. But as the baby grows, the jabs and kicks become stronger and more frequent. Babies are more active at certain times and are very active before they get to sleep. This is due to varying blood sugar levels. It can also respond to touch and sound, and it may even kick your partner as you snuggle.

What Does the Movement Feel Like?

The movements are gentle at the beginning and are more like a flutter or a swirl. But as your pregnancy moves on, you feel jerky movements. Some women describe it as a nervous twitch, butterflies in the tummy or a tumbling motion. For a first-time mom, it is hard to tell if it is gas or a movement, but after one pregnancy, you can distinguish baby movements from other internal motions. By the second and third trimesters, the movements feel like jabs, elbows, and kicks.

Factors That Can Affect the Baby’s Movements in Pregnancy

You may not be aware of the baby's movements when you are busy or active. It is also not easy to feel the baby move if the placenta is in the front of the womb. If your baby is at the front of the uterus, you feel fewer movements than when it is lying on the back. However, being bottom first or head down does not affect how you feel the movement.

Certain drugs, like sedatives or pain relief pills, make the baby move less as they get into the bloodstream and also into the baby’s blood. Smoking and alcohol affect the baby’s movement. In a few cases, if the baby is ill, the movement is less. Rarely a condition that affects the nerves and muscles causes the baby to move a little or not at all.

Monitoring the Baby Kicking and What to Do if it is Changed?

After the baby’s movements are consistent and established, it is recommended that you track the kicks, jabs, and punches so that you know that the baby is developing as it should. The term "fetal kick count" or "fetal movement assessment" refers to this.

If there is a change in the fetal movements, seek professional help and keep a count of the change or reduction in the movements depending on your pregnancy stage.

< 24 weeks: If, by 24 weeks, you do not feel any movement, you should talk to your doctor, who will check the heartbeat of the baby. An ultrasound will be done to determine the baby’s wellbeing.

Between 24 - 28 weeks: If there is a movement reduction or change, then you must check in to a maternity unit to check the heartbeat of the baby. A complete antenatal checkup tests your urine and measures blood pressure and the size of the uterus. If the uterus is smaller than normal, an ultrasound scan may be done to check the growth and development of the baby.

> 28 weeks: You should seek immediate help if there are no baby movements and have an antenatal checkup, including the baby’s heartbeat. The baby’s heart rate is monitored for at least 20 minutes to check their wellbeing. An ultrasound has to be done to check the baby’s growth and the quantity of amniotic fluid. If there are any concerns, the doctor will discuss them and also have follow-up scans.


1. What is the normal movement of a baby during pregnancy?

There is no set number of times for a baby’s movements, as every baby is different. The main thing is to know your baby’s movements every day. From 18 to 24 weeks, the movements should increase and after 32 weeks, they will remain the same.

2. What is the feeling of baby movement during pregnancy?

The first sensation may be like butterflies in the tummy, and then it can be tumbling, rolling, swishing, or a tiny kick.

3. Which baby kicks more, boy or girl?

Research suggests that girls kick more often than boys. Babies who kick are more active after birth.

4. What if my baby is not kicking today?

If you are not feeling movements, then you should consult a doctor immediately.

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