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Fetal Movement:

What’s Normal and Not

From the team at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare in Fayetteville, Newnan, and Stockbridge, Georgia, we want to wish you the best possible pregnancy! We also know that feeling your baby move is one of the most-anticipated parts of expecting. 

The first fetal movements (sometimes referred to as “quickening”) signal that your baby is developing. Our OB/GYN providers and certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) want you to know that there’s a broad range of what you can expect when your baby moves inside the womb.

Since there’s a wide variety, it’s natural for expecting moms to be concerned about what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to feeling your baby move. Keep reading as we put your mind at ease with this guide covering fetal movement.

Here’s a look at what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to feeling your little one move, and the signs it’s time to call your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider. 

Fetal movement: Normal patterns

Feeling your baby move is one of the most exciting signs that your baby is growing. The exact timing of when you can expect to feel fetal movement depends on many factors, meaning it varies from woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy. 

In most instances, you can expect to feel your baby move sometime between weeks 16 and 25. The first movements are usually subtle and might feel like gas bubbles or normal digestive movements. 

As your baby grows and your pregnancy progresses, you’ll be able to distinguish your baby’s movements more easily. Once you’re in the third trimester, it’s normal to notice more forceful kicking, turning, and so on. 

How frequently you feel your baby move varies, but on average you can expect to feel about ten movements every few hours. However, some babies are naturally quieter while others seem to move nonstop. 

You’ll probably notice that your baby has active periods, often when you’re resting or sitting, as well as less active periods. Some babies follow a daily pattern while others seem to move more randomly. 

Your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider monitors your baby’s growth and talks to you about different types of fetal movements you can expect, like hiccups, rolling, punching, kicking, and more. 

As you can tell, there’s a good amount of variety in what’s normal, which might feel overwhelming, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Keep in mind that generally speaking, if you feel your baby moving fairly regularly, it’s a good sign!

Fetal movement: Signs it’s time to talk to your provider

It’s important to remember that just as your activity level can change day by day depending on a multitude of factors, the same is true for your baby. 

Also, in the same way, your activity isn’t exactly like your friend’s, partner’s, or neighbor’s, your baby’s fetal movement pattern won’t exactly match another baby’s. 

For this reason, although it’s always a good idea to contact your provider when you’re concerned about fetal movement, know that there is a wide range of what’s normal. That being said, here are some situations where you should contact your provider right away:

Not feeling any fetal movement 

If you’re 25 weeks pregnant and haven’t felt your baby move at all, it’s time to call our offices and schedule a talk with your provider. Not feeling any fetal movement by this point in your pregnancy could point to fetal distress and require investigation. 

This is also true if you’re further along in your pregnancy and all baby movements suddenly stop. In addition to calling your provider, you can also try different “tricks” to encourage your baby to move, including:

  • Eating a snack
  • Having a sweet beverage, like juice
  • Moving your body around
  • Talking to your tummy
  • Gently pushing or prodding your belly
  • Lying down for several minutes, then standing up

These strategies can often encourage a sleepy baby to start moving.

Sudden changes, decreasing, or inconsistent movements 

Sudden and extreme changes in your baby’s movement might indicate a problem. For example, if your baby starts persistent, violent kicking, be sure to call your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider.

Likewise, a significant decrease in movements or inconsistent or irregular movements can be a sign of an issue with your baby’s health. Be sure to call your provider if you notice a decrease in your baby’s activity level. 

If you’re worried about fetal movement, the best thing to do is talk with an obstetrics provider at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare. Get the information you need by scheduling an appointment at one of our Georgia locations near you.