Feeling Baby Moving

Topic 5: Feeling Baby Moving

What does fetal movement feel like? Is it always moving?

"Oh, it moved just now!" When you can feel the presence of your baby moving inside you, that is fetal movement.
Fetal movements contain many messages from your baby, and a mother will get a good understanding of what the movements mean!

What is fetal movement?

Actually seeing your baby with an ultrasound is one of the joys of pregnancy, but with fetal movement you can feel for yourself that, "There's a baby in here!" That's a joy you'll want to feel as soon as you can.

So let's take a look at how fetal movement is felt and from about when!

What is fetal movement like?

At about the 5th month of pregnancy, the baby's skeleton and muscles have developed and he starts stretching his arms and legs in the amniotic fluid and moving around actively. The feeling when his arms and legs bump against the mothers uterine wall is what fetal movement refers to. Fetal movement not only makes you really feel that there’s a baby inside of you, but its also an important tool of communication that tells the mother how the baby is doing.

Period when you'll feel fetal movement for the first time

In general, the time when you'll first feel fetal movement is said to be roughly between 18 and 20 weeks into the pregnancy. But the period when you feel fetal movement varies widely among individuals. The way you feel it also varies depending on the thickness of the mothers subcutaneous fat, the amount of amniotic fluid, and the position of the placenta, for example. So if you pass this period and you still cannot feel fetal movement, there's no need to worry. As long as you can verify through ultrasounds, etc., that the baby is growing fine, there's no problem, so you can relax.

Changes in baby's movements

The truth is that the baby is moving around long before the mother can feel the fetal movement.

At about the 7th week of pregnancy, the nerves have developed, and starting around the 12th week the fetus starts sucking its thumb or fingers. Then after the 20th week, it starts moving around freely in the amniotic fluid! That’s the time when the mother starts feeling fetal movement.

Changes in how you'll feel fetal movement

Just as the period when you first feel fetal movement varies from one person to the next, the way it is felt also varies widely.

What starts as a tingly feeling like static electricity passing through your belly changes into a sensation like bubbles popping here and there, and then it becomes a more distinct sensation where you'll know for sure that, "Oh, he must be kicking!" Sometimes, you may also feel baby hiccuping.

When the movement becomes more intense, you may be able to see the baby moving just by looking at your belly.

Just before birth, the baby descends, and it's said that fetal movement may quieten down, but this, too, varies from one person to the next. Some babies move around in the uterus right up until contractions start, so it doesn’t apply categorically. In all cases, if you are uncertain, worried or concerned, please contact your doctor immediately for advice. All topics discussed on this site are for informational purposes, and do not replace the advice of your doctor, or the need to be seen by a doctor.

Interact with your baby through fetal movement

Fetal movement is the first communication a mother to be has with the baby in her belly!

Through fetal movement, you will have an idea if the baby is fine or not and can talk with him. The baby loves hearing his mother talk.

So enjoy the precious time you can interact with your baby in your belly.

Check fetal movement

Fetal movement is one means of making sure that the baby is growing fine. If you've been feeling fetal movement but then go for a whole day without feeling any, for example, it's probably good to go to the hospital and get checked just in case.

Also, once you get to around weeks 32-35 of pregnancy, baby's sleep time and wake time will settle into a rhythm. If you do a fetal movement count every day in which you record how long it takes for the baby to move 10 times, you can monitor whether the baby is fine or not.

How to do a fetal movement count

1. Do it every day, after a meal or before going to sleep, when you are relaxed

2. Lie down on your left side

3. Measure how many minutes it takes for baby to move 10 times

★If things seem different than usual, or if you could verify fetal movement before and now you can't feel it at all, it's probably a good idea to go to the hospital and discuss it just in case

It's OK if there's a time with no fetal movement

Once you start feeling fetal movement, when there is none you may feel concerned. But baby has a time when he's sleeping and a time when he's moving around. Babies seem to sleep and wake on an approximately 60 minute cycle. If your are uncertain or concerned consult your doctor

Communication with baby

The fact that you became able to feel fetal movement is proof that your baby is developing. Around the time you start to feel fetal movement, the nerves will be mostly developed and the sense of hearing will be completely formed.

Touch your belly, talk to the baby, listen to music, and try to communicate with your baby!  When your action gets through to the baby and you can feel a response, there is no greater joy. We recommend the "kicking game," a kind of game in which you communicate with the baby through fetal movement. How about trying it at least once?

★Kicking game

In the kicking game, start out with simple things at first, and once you succeed, advance to the next step. While some babies may respond right away, others may take a long time to do so. Even if your baby doesn't respond, be patient!  It is getting through to the baby just fine. Choose a place and time when you can relax, and do it patiently 2-3 times a day, for more than a month.

1. If baby kicks, pat that place on your belly while saying "Kick." In another minute or two, he'll kick again, so pat that same place while saying "Kick." When you do that, he'll start kicking the same place over and over.

2. After you've repeated the first exercise for several days, next pat a different place than where the baby kicks and say "Kick." When you do that, the baby may kick the place you patted. If you repeat this for 1-2 weeks, the baby will start kicking in basically the same area where you pat

3. Once you get used to this, pat your belly two times while saying "Kick, kick." When you do that, the baby will respond by kicking two times. He'll start kicking back the same number of times as you pat.

update : 19.09.2017

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