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How Often Should I Feel My Baby Kick?

Chief Editor | Published on September 14, 2023

One of the most wonderful experiences for pregnant mums is when they can feel their little one move inside them. It is common, especially for first-time mums, to wonder how often they should feel their baby move and what to do if there are any abnormalities.

Here are a few pointers.

Look Out for “Quickening”

Generally, the baby starts moving from Week 16 of pregnancy onwards, and mums who have already given birth before may start feeling a familiar movement around this time. But if it’s your first time being pregnant, you might not detect the kicks until closer to Week 25, or might mistake the movements as gas or hunger pangs. On average though, mums feel movements around Week 20 of pregnancy, in a phase called “quickening”.

Some mums, like Trish Koon Hui Ping, research assistant and soon-to-be-mum, describes the feeling as like “something toppling in your tummy”. “Is it some air or is it the baby really moving? I’m a first-time mummy so I get confused. So only when you really feel that something is pushing against you, you’re sure that that’s foetal movement. That’s around Week 22, 23. In Week 20, I did feel something, so in hindsight I know that was foetal movement,” she says.

How Often Will the Baby Kick?

The kicks are just occasional flutters in the early stages of pregnancy but as you reach the third trimester, they get stronger and more frequent — sometimes up to 30 times in an hour, according to some studies. The pattern of the baby’s movements appears to be related to changes in your own blood sugar levels.

Generally, you can expect the movements between 9pm and 1am, just as you are entering deep sleep.

How often should I feel my baby kick

Early Movements: In the second trimester, it’s common to feel your baby move sporadically. There is no set number of kicks you should be counting at this stage.

Third Trimester: By the time you reach the third trimester (around 28 weeks and beyond), you should notice a more consistent pattern of fetal movements. Healthcare providers often recommend monitoring and counting your baby’s kicks. The “kick count” method typically involves counting how long it takes to feel ten distinct movements. Ideally, this should take place within a two-hour period.

What to Watch For

While there is no hard and fast rule for the number of kicks you should feel in a day, it’s crucial to be aware of your baby’s normal patterns. Here’s what to watch for:

  1. Consistency: Your baby will have their own rhythm, but you should notice a consistent pattern of movement. If your baby suddenly becomes less active or the pattern changes significantly, contact your healthcare provider.
  2. Decreased Movements: If you notice a decrease in fetal movements or if you’re concerned about changes in activity, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider. Reduced fetal movement can sometimes be a sign of potential issues that need to be addressed promptly.
  3. Quality Over Quantity: While counting kicks can provide reassurance, remember that the quality of your baby’s movements is equally important. Strong, deliberate movements are a positive sign.
  4. Time of Day: Some babies are more active at certain times of the day. Pay attention to when your baby is typically most active and when they tend to rest.
  5. Position Matters: Your baby’s position in the womb can affect how you feel their movements. You may feel kicks, rolls, or jabs in different areas of your abdomen as your baby shifts.

What to do About the Baby’s Movements

There’s no reason to be alarmed at the kicking. It is a sign of normal development. But you also need not wait for every single kick as this may cause anxiety. Just let it happen and keep count of the movements as they happen.

On average, see if you feel your baby move 10 times every 2 hours. If you don’t feel the baby move, feel free to consult your doctor, but try not to panic as this could still be due to a variety of normal, harmless reasons. The baby could be asleep, or may have grown bigger during the previous few weeks such that there’s no room to move around inside your womb. Or some babies may naturally move less than others.

The location of your placenta can also be a factor. What you need to do is look for a drastic change in movement patterns.

Feeling your baby kick is a beautiful and reassuring aspect of pregnancy. While there is no set number of kicks you should feel each day, being attuned to your baby’s patterns and seeking prompt medical attention if you notice significant changes in movement is crucial.

If you have felt the baby move a lot and frequently, but have stopped feeling movements for 2 hours, then it’s definitely worth checking in with your doctor. Trust your instincts, communicate with your healthcare provider, and savour this special bond with your growing child as you await their arrival.

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