For all the parents-to-be, feeling their baby move in the womb for the first time is an emotional experience. Those sweet fluttery movements assure parents that their baby is doing well, and s/he is arriving soon.
But there are many questions that may come to our minds, like why babies move and kick in the womb? Or, why should you pay attention to a lack of movement? Or, when an unborn baby starts moving regularly?
Dr. Nupur Gupta, Founder of Well Woman Clinic & Director of Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute Gurugram, answered these questions and explained, “Normally, the baby starts kicking by 13 to 16th week of the pregnancy. However, the mother starts feeling it only after the 18th week. In medical terms, the movement of a baby inside the womb is called Quickening and this movement shows that the baby is active and healthy.”
“In the initial days, we don’t ask the mothers to count the kicks but in the later stages of pregnancy, we suggest to keep a track of the count which is known as kicking surveillance. If a mother does not feel any movement of the baby inside the womb even after 28 weeks, she should see her gynecologist immediately,” she added.
How does the movement of the baby feel like?
According to Dr. Nupur, the movement of the baby feels like a butterfly or twitching. In the initial days, the kicking is very occasional. By the end of the second trimester, the kick is quite frequent, and after the 30th week, the movement is quite rigorous and strong.
“It is also important to note that the the baby does not move all the time. They also have a sleeping time. Whenever they get the food they show movements. They react to the touch or feel in the lower abdomen”, said Dr. Gupta.
Movements Help Shape Your Baby’s Growing Bones
According to few studies, kicking also helps in the neurological development of the baby. Although it is still not clear, many studies have linked poor neurological development with less movement in utero. If you get kicked a little too hard, there’s nothing to be worried about as it’s good for your baby.
Kicking is an important part of fetal development. If your baby is not kicking, it means it’s cramped in there. That twisting, turning, rolling, and somersaulting around in your womb help shape your baby’s growing bones. Studies have shown a link between stationary fetuses with bone and joint problems.
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Why You Should Monitor Your Baby’s Movements?
It is generally recommended by the physicians that the beginning of daily kick counts at 28 weeks or the beginning of the third trimester.
A common way to track your baby’s movement is to see how much time it takes to feel 10 movements. If it is fewer than 10 times in an hour, call your doctor immediately.
According to reports, usually, babies are most active in the morning and the evening. You can feel the kicks best when you are sitting or lying down. But some babies will naturally be more or less active than others. So, it’s important to understand what’s normal for your baby. If your child is always kicking in the morning, even one morning without fetal movement during the third trimester is cause for concern.
If an hour goes by and you haven’t felt the kick, drink juice (or any sugary beverage) or lie down on your side and wait for another hour to see if you can feel the movements.
A study found that babies freeze up when moms lie on their back in late pregnancy. This is because oxygen supply to babies decreases when mothers lie on their backs, and the babies stop moving to conserve oxygen.
If, even after one hour, you still don’t feel any movement at all or the kick counting score is less than normal, call your doctor immediately.