Feeling your baby move

Feeling your baby move for the first time is an amazing experience. It’s such an exciting moment for any mother-to-be, especially for those pregnant for the first time. Here’s what to expect…

How many weeks pregnant do you have to be?

If you are on your first pregnancy, you will start feeling the foetus’ first movements at 18 weeks or maybe even later, after 20 weeks. Pregnant women on their second or third pregnancy may start feeling their baby’s movements as early as 16 weeks.

The first movements you’ll feel will resemble a sort of “fluttering” inside your tummy, which can easily be confused them with trapped wind! With time, the baby’s kicks will become more obvious and you may even a pattern to their activity.

Why is the baby moving?

As it develops, the foetus begins to “test” the limbs that it can now bend or stretch. The more the pregnancy advances, the more obvious these movements will become – you ‘ll start to feel kicks or punches. Sometimes, foetal movements are a response to loud noises or positions of your body – when you’re sitting or lying down in a position that’s uncomfortable for the baby, it will become agitated.

Also, the baby can be more active or more relaxed depending on what you eat. Soon you may notice when they are awake or sleeping.

How often does the baby need to move?

From week 28 onwards, pay more attention to the foetus’ movements and you can even try to keep count of how often the baby kicks you. Lie down on your left side, preferably at the same time every day, and monitor the time it takes to feel a total of 10 kicks.

If it takes more than two hours, then try again later on the same day. If you still can’t feel 10 movements in two hours, you should contact your doctor.

In the third trimester you’ll notice that the baby’s movements are stronger, more frequent and follow a certain pattern. Then, towards the end of the pregnancy, the baby will be bigger and will no longer have as much room to move around in, but its kicks should still be regular, even if they occur less often.