Your baby's movements - how frequent should they be?

Your baby's first tiny movements may feel light a slight tickle and may be quite an emotional experience for you.

You might start feeling your baby moving as early as weeks 16 to 17. But this varies a lot and it can also happen earlier or later. 
If you have been pregnant before, you might notice the movements a little sooner because you recognise them this time. If it is your first pregnancy, it might take longer before you realise the baby is actually moving. Further reading: I'm pregnant!

Babies are little individuals. Some move around more in the womb than others. It can be reassuring to feel the baby moving a lot, but it's not unusual for them to also go through phases of being still. It's easier to feel the baby when you're lying on your side. Speak to your midwife or doctor if the baby suddenly stops moving or seems more still than usual.

The position of the placenta can determine when you feel your baby moving
If the placenta is attached to the front wall of your uterus, you will probably start feeling the movements a little later. Your ultrasound scan around week 18 will show where the placenta is located. In the early stages, the intervals at which you feel your baby move can range from a few hours to a few days.

You can feel if your baby is asleep or awake in the womb
Your baby's movements change during the pregnancy. They are initially very faint and irregular. Around mid-pregnancy they become stronger and more regular, and sometimes your baby will really kick you. The baby's rhythms become clearer and you can feel when it is resting and when it is active.

Many women say their baby is more active at night and early in the morning. This can disrupt the mother's sleep. Babies vary a lot as to how much, how often and how hard they kick. But you will come to recognise your baby's movement patterns.

It gets very cramped in the womb towards the end of the pregnancy
As the baby grows, there is increasingly less free space in the womb. Towards the end of the pregnancy, your baby's movements may change. It may stretch out more frequently, making your tummy bulge in different directions. You will get a clear feeling that your baby is living and growing in your womb and seems to want to come out.

Contact your midwife or the maternity clinic if you are worried
If you notice a change in your baby's movement pattern, don't hesitate to contact the maternity clinic for advice. You are always entitled to come for an extra examination if you are worried about your baby's movement patterns. Among other tests, a CTG and an ultrasound scan will be performed. Trust your instincts.

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