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Fetal Movements During Pregnancy: Changes in Fetal Movement & Ways to Get Your Baby to Move in The Womb

November 9, 2022

Feeling your baby kick and move around in your belly are beautiful moments throughout your pregnancy. Learning more about fetal movement during pregnancy is important for not only knowing what to expect but also for knowing when something could potentially be wrong.

When Will You Start Feeling Your Baby Move?

blog on baby moving in the wombIn the second trimester of pregnancy, between 16 and 25 weeks of pregnancy, most fetal movements can begin to be felt. This is called quickening! Quickening in pregnancy will first feel like little flutters or strange sensations in your stomach. If an expecting mother has given birth before, she can sometimes feel the baby move sooner as she is more attuned to what to expect and feel. 

Periods without feeling your baby move or kick during the second trimester of pregnancy are not abnormal. However, during the third trimester, it's important to note any decreases in fetal movement. This can be done by counting kicks. When does the third-trimester start? The third-trimester start when an expecting mother is 27 weeks pregnant.

Counting Your Baby's Movements

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you record the time it takes to feel 10 movements (not including hiccups). A healthy baby should have 10 movements in less than two hours. Most babies will take less than 30 minutes. 

How to count your baby’s movements:

  • Get in a comfortable position and wait for the baby’s movement.
  • Note the time of the first movement and count 10 movements of kicks. Look again at the time to determine how long it took your baby to move 10 times.
  • If you feel your baby isn’t moving, get up and walk for 10 minutes and drink a glass of juice. Then try the kick count again.

How to Get a Baby to Move in The Womb

Babies naturally have sleepy and active times in the womb. Normally, pregnant women report the most fetal movement after activities, meals, and in the evening. Since every pregnancy is unique, it is best to rule out any natural reasons for decreased movements before there’s any cause for concern. 

Ways to make a baby move in the womb include: 

  • Have a sweet snack or drink: Having a few pieces of chocolate or a cold glass of orange juice produces a natural spike in your blood sugar which can be felt by the baby and spur movement.

  • Make some sound: A baby’s sense of hearing is fairly well developed once you pass the halfway point of the second trimester. Talking, singing, and putting headphones on your stomach (at a low volume) can help perk up your baby’s ears and get them moving around.

  • Move around: If you’re standing up, try laying down for a bit. If you’re laying down, slowly adjust positions to encourage your baby to move. If you can feel your baby’s feet or bum pressing on your tummy, try giving them a gentle rub to see if they respond.

Reasons For Decreased Fetal Movement

If you can’t feel your baby kicking, don’t panic. There are plenty of healthy, perfectly normal reasons why a baby isn’t kicking. If you can’t feel your baby moving it could be because:

  • There’s less room in your womb
    • Later in pregnancy, your baby has less room to move around than it used to, so the movements may be less vigorous and noticeable 
  • Your baby is asleep 
  • Your baby has “dropped”
    • In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s head is engaged in your pelvis, limiting its ability to move

When to See a Doctor If You Can't Feel Your Baby Moving

If you’ve tried a few tricks to make your baby move and still can’t feel any movement, it may be time to call an OB/GYN. Call your obstetrician if:

  • Your baby has less than 10 movements in two hours.
  • Your baby has a dramatic or sudden change of baby movement in the womb.
  • You are unsure.

Do not wait 24 hours if there are no fetal movements, you can’t feel fetal activity, or if there has been a significant change. 

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At the Gabrielson Clinic for Women, we offer compassionate, expert prenatal care aimed at ensuring both mom and baby are as happy and healthy as possible. As a dedicated women's clinic, we provide premier women’s health services in Iowa for every stage of life. From pregnancy care to pediatrics and women's healthcare after delivery, we’re here to support your growing family!

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