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    Baby Movements

    Fetal Movement - Baby Movement in Pregnancy

    Written on 14 August 2018

    Fetal Movement & Baby Kicking During Pregnancy

    Feeling your first baby kicking? When babies are growing inside the womb, parents look forward to little things that indicate their health and well-being.

    During pregnancy, parents look forward to little things that tell them their baby is healthy and happy in the womb. One of the signs that tells the parents that the baby is developing according to the schedule is quickening.

    What is Quickening?

    Quickening happens when the baby starts moving around in the womb. It generally occurs after the 17th week of pregnancy when mothers start feeling the kicks and other baby movements in the belly. However, in some cases, it might happen sooner or even later, depending upon the baby's development. However, it is entirely normal as long as it occurs between the 13th and 25th week.
    Also, in some cases, if the mother has already given birth before, she might not even feel it happening, which doesn't necessarily mean that your baby is not well.

    The main thrill in pregnancy begins with experiencing the baby kicks. The tiny punches, wriggles, and twists of a baby in the womb melt your heart.

    Throughout pregnancy, fetal movements may drive you to numerous queries and doubts. Is the baby kicking, or is it something else? Is the baby kicking fewer times or more? When it comes to fetal movements, all babies behave differently. Noting a few points on normal daily fetal movement count will give a clue what is going on inside.

    What does normal fetal movement feel like?

    Usually, mothers feel flutters, bubbles or twinges during quickening, which can often feel like gas. With time these movements become more prominent, and mothers can differentiate between gas and quickening. In the beginning, you might not feel these movements every day as your baby is still young and cannot move around too much. However, as the baby grows, you will start feeling frantic jerky fetal movements as the baby does not have enough room to move around. These movements are much more pronounced as the pregnancy progresses and women report rapid fetal movement in the third trimester.

    Watch This Amazing Video of a Baby standing up in belly/monster kicks and movement 38 weeks pregnant

    When are you more likely to experience the fetal movement:

    • Mothers may feel increased fetal movement at night as the baby rests during the morning and the afternoon.
    • After a meal, you may feel your baby kicking more. The gush in blood sugar inside the body results in frantic jerky fetal movements.
    • While you feel low or nervous, it is easy to recognize the baby's movement clearly as your body will be in an undisturbed position.
    • When you aren't moving for long and when they want you to react to your decreasing sugar levels in the blood.
    • When you are laughing out loud, listening to music, or even talking to them - Awe!
    • Lie down on your left and he/she will respond to it.
    • Eat a snack that's healthy or has a juice and watches them respond to your blood sugar levels.
    • Sing a lullaby at one point every day and your baby will respond with movements.
    • Simply flashlight over your tummy and there you go with another kick!

    Why is keeping fetal kick counts important?

    Kicking is the most visible sign that the little life inside you is growing properly. That’s why it is very important to count the baby’s kicks during pregnancy. Simply put, kick count is just counting the number of times a baby moves over a given period of time such as one hour. It is a good thing if the fetal kick counts are consistent but the reduced fetal movement is an alarming thing and can be a sign of trouble. A drop in fetal movement often also points towards a reduction in amniotic fluid or more worryingly a ruptured amniotic sac. Hence, pregnant women are strongly encouraged to monitor their babies so that any potential complication can be detected at the earliest and necessary medical intervention or help is provided. Regular monitoring of fetal movements by counting kicks becomes even more important as the due date approaches. During the 9th month of pregnancy, women need to count the kicks many times a day.

    When should you start keeping fetal movement count?

    Your doctor will most likely ask you to start counting kicks during the third trimester starting from the 28th week till the end of your pregnancy. You should count kicks twice a day, first in the morning and then during the evening.

    Many babies have been saved and pregnancy mishaps averted as the mothers were alert about the baby’s kick counts and rushed to the hospital after noticing changes in kick counts and patterns. As an expecting mom, you should take kick counting seriously and follow your doctor’s advice about it.

    Kick counting procedure -

    1. You can start counting your baby kicks once you reach the 28th week as that is when your baby’s arms and legs are well grown. Also, he/she is ready to blow you with an array of movements.
    2. Remember to track kicks during the same time of the day. You must analyze that time of the day when you think your baby is active. Do not choose a time when he/she rests and then go panicky as there won't be any kicks when the little one is resting!
    3. Usually, the baby kicks 3 times in 30 minutes or 10 times in an hour. If it doesn't reach 10 counts in an hour or two, you needn't panic. Just have a snack or juice and take note again. It will help. If you don't seem to feel any signs of movement, then it is advised to evaluate under the doctor’s guidance.
    4. Also, follow this routine while you are seated in a very comfortable position lying to your left or sitting. Avoid multitasking while you are counting your baby’s kicks as that might distract and let you lose count.
    5. Even mild movements like stretching, breathing, turning are considered kicks.

    The general rule of thumb - Not all babies kick the same way! Each one differs.

    Things to remember -

    • If you find any change in the normal fetal movement, ensure you report it to your doctor immediately.

    • One baby’s kicks needn't necessarily be similar to that of the other. Even the same mother will have two different kick patterns for two different babies being delivered at two different points of time.

    • Observe the kick timings and movements as to when he/she is active and at rest. Follow the same.

    • Your baby must improve in movements as days go by rather than decreased fetal movement.

    A matter of concern -

    When you realize that the kick counts timings are changing swiftly from one kick to another or if you feel something suspicious within, report immediately to the concerned. Also, if you find no response from your baby for long hours, he/she might not be provided with enough oxygen supply. So, consult the doctor and treat it immediately.

    Reasons behind the decreased fetal movement-

    • The reduced fetal movement might be due to a lack of nutrition in your body. If you aren't moving or standing/sitting still for long hours, your baby might not respond.

    • Your emotional state also directly impacts your baby’s movements and kicks.

    • When the flow of blood and oxygen isn't sufficient there occurs a decline in kicks.

    • Again, stress and improper supply of oxygen might decrease the amniotic fluid thereby leading to decreased fetal movements.

    • When the umbilical cord is twisted or damaged, due to lack of proper oxygen supply, your baby might not respond properly.

    • Consult your doctor in this situation. Through an ultrasound scan, your doctor will be able to detect the reason behind declining kicks and movements.

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