Have you been feeling your baby kicking inside you yet? Or have you felt them like flutters? Your baby’s movements inside you vary. They also vary from woman to woman. At times you might also feel that your baby is quiet. But you cannot take this as a criterion to compare how your baby is progressing when compared to babies of moms who seem to be carrying super-active babies.
Interestingly each baby will have his individual pattern of movement. While some seem full of energy, others may be slow swimmers. They swim and somersault in the amniotic fluid when you don’t feel the movements. As the fetus begins to grow, you can feel the kicks until the later part of the third trimester.
The traditional way was for a woman to count ten kicks per day. But the notion has been abandoned because there is no fixed pattern in babies’ movements. Also, the baby’s movements might be anywhere between four times an hour to hundred times an hour, of which you may not feel all the movements. So women are no longer asked to keep a record of their babies’ movements.
But the thumb rule would be that your baby’s movements would increase until 32 weeks. The pattern might repeat till your baby is due. However, these will be the general trend one can anticipate for a week by week baby movement:
At about eighth gestational week, your baby would regularly be moving, although you may not feel anything. The signals from your baby’s brain elicit message to his muscles so that they work and help in the growth of your baby. The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby provides a cushion effect and acts as protection from any pressure or bumps and encourages your baby to move about without any injuries.
13 -15 Weeks
Slight movements around this time can happen, but it is a rare occurrence.
16 To 24 Weeks:
There are chances that you feel a very little flutter which you might mistake to be a peristaltic movement of the bowels, or you can liken it to feeling indigestion or gas. The subtle movements might occur a few days, and then there might be days when you don’t feel the movements at all which you shouldn’t be worried about.
24 To 28 Weeks
It’s the time when your baby’s movements begin to get move obviously. The patterns may or may not show up at the 24th week, but it will get more regular by the 28th week when there will be about ten movements in a twelve hour period. Your baby might be energetic at times when you want to sleep. At times you could be ignorant of the baby movements when you are working or taking care of other children.
At times the jerks could be associated with your baby having hiccups that can recur for about thirty minutes at one time. This is a normal phenomenon, and it should not worry you.
You would be surprised that your baby is sensitive to sounds now. So if he hears a loud sound, he could jump at that! Your baby might be moving around a lot on the nights when it is quiet, and you are sleeping.
You might even notice that your baby might be very active one day and the next day he is quieter.
29 – 31 Weeks
This is the time when the movement can be seen from outside either kicking or moving along the feet or elbow. You might as well be able to identify your baby’s movements when you are in a bath.
The most active period for your baby is characterized by somersaulting or stretching arms. You will be able to find out how your baby is positioned the best at around 36 weeks. You should bring to your doctor’s notice if you feel your baby is quiet around this time or if the movements have reduced.
By the 36th week, your baby will start moving his head down readying himself for birth. You will feel the gentle flaps of the hands and legs. Your baby might be changing positions between head down to sideways to breech or bottom first position, although if it is your first baby, he might not show this tendency. He should ideally have his front towards your back or his back to your back at this stage.
36 To 40 Weeks
Some doctors believe that the frequency of movements go down or the kicks get weaker towards the end of the gestation period. This is because the baby has pretty much grown and has less space to move. There is, however, a different school of belief that contradicts this belief now. So if you don’t feel the movements, you should talk to your doctor.
Sleeping Patterns In The Womb:
Your baby might sleep anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. A longer nap would be anything up to 90 minutes.
It is also believed that if your baby has slept in the nights are active during the day after they are born. Those babies who sleep less during the nights would sleep more during the day after they are born.
Things That Influence Your Baby’s Movements:
Caffeine, sugars, ice or ice-cold water, fizzy drinks, hot and cold beverages will make your baby move more. Your baby might instantly feel the change in temperature when you drink ice-cold water. Sedatives, alcohol, smoking, and painkillers can make the baby move less. Eating or drinking less a day will also make your baby less active. Your baby can also move less if he is unhappy! So being cheerful during pregnancy is important.
The positioning of the placenta can also influence your baby’s movements. If your placenta is in the front, you may not feel your baby move around a lot.
When Do You Need To Notify Your Doctor:
When you don’t feel the movements as discussed above, contact your doctor or midwife. They will check your baby’s heartbeat. Sometimes they move subtly, so you don’t feel it. It might also be likely that it has changed its position in the womb.