Pregnant woman sitting cross-legged and holding her belly.

Your Baby’s Got Some Moves

Flipping, twisting, kicking and fluttering: your baby’s movements explained

One of the most exciting moments of pregnancy is the first time you feel your baby moving. These early, flitting feelings are called quickening. Moms often compare them to bubbles popping or eyelashes fluttering.

Quickening can begin anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks. New moms tend to experience these early movements closer to 20 weeks. This is generally because they aren’t as familiar with the sensation as moms who’ve been pregnant before.

Once these first flutterings are felt, moms will begin to notice their babies moving more and more each day.

Feeling the movements

The best way to feel your baby’s movements is just to get comfortable, either sitting or standing, and focus on your baby. As a general rule, babies tend to be more active in the evening than they are during the day.

Much of what you’re able to feel will depend on how baby is positioned. For instance, we generally expect baby to be head down by the last month of pregnancy. That could certainly change the kind of movements you’re feeling from flipping to more kicking.

Movements and their meanings

There’s really no special significance to the types of movements your baby makes.

Each baby is different and will move in their own unique way. There’s a wide range of movements moms can expect to feel including stretching, flipping, twisting or turning. Sensations will shift as baby grows and changes position. What really matters is that your baby is moving.

When to call your doctor

If you notice a decrease or absence of movement, it’s quite possible that your baby is simply sleeping. Some sleep cycles mean babies don’t move much at all. Even if you suspect that’s the case, you’ll still want to do a kick count if you feel an unusual absence of movement. You should feel at least 10 kicks within a two-hour period. If you don’t, call your doctor. They will guide you through what to do and let you know if you should to come in to make sure your baby isn’t in any distress.

A great way to connect

Paying attention to your baby’s movements is more than an important way to check on their progress. It’s also a great way for you and baby (and your partner, if you have one) to connect before you meet for the first time. Placing a hand on where you feel baby moving and talking or singing to them is a great way to spend some family time.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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