Fetal Movements

Active babies are healthy babies.


You will first feel your baby move around 18-22 weeks; this is called “quickening”. Women who have had previous pregnancies will probably feel movements a couple of weeks earlier, usually because they know whether the sensation is a real movement or just gas. The location of the placenta (afterbirth) may initially affect the timing of when you first perceive your baby move, but eventually the baby gets big enough or is in such a position that the placenta no longer masks the movements.

Active babies are happy babies, although it’s important to remember that babies have periods of sleep when they don’t move and periods of being awake when they do. A decrease in movements during these “awake” times could signal a problem with the baby. It is recommended that all pregnant women start to monitor movements of their baby on a daily basis starting around 26 weeks of pregnancy. Try and find a quiet place where you can concentrate on feeling your baby kick. Lean back in a semi-reclined position, or lie down on your left side and place your hands on your stomach. I tell all my patients that if they feel less that 6 distinct movements over 2 hours or 10 distinct movements over 12 hours they should call or come in for further assessment. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases where women feel decreased fetal movements, further assessment such as an ultrasound or heart rate check reveals a normal baby, but this extra degree of caution does provide reassurance and anxiety relief for many.

While you certainly don’t need to chart your baby’s movements, some women find Fetal Movement Charts helpful - and if nothing else it acts as a reminder to keep track of how often your baby moves.

If you are worried about your baby’s movements, or you ever have any concerns about your pregnancy, call your health care provider or go directly to the local labour and delivery/birthing unit for further examination – we are always open!


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