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Health & Pregnancy

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Feeling Your Baby Kick

One of the most exciting moments in your pregnancy is when you feel those first little flutters of your baby kicking. These tiny movements reassure you that your baby is developing and help you feel closer to the little life inside of you.

When Will I Feel My Baby Kicking?

You should feel your baby's first movements, called "quickening," between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks. You're more likely to feel baby move when you're in a quiet position, either sitting or lying down.

What Does the Baby's Kicking Feel Like?

Pregnant women describe their baby's movements as butterflies, nervous twitches, or a tumbling motion. At first, it may be hard to tell whether your baby has moved. Second- and third-time moms are more adept at distinguishing those first baby movements from gas , hunger pangs, and other internal motions.

By your second and third trimesters, the movements should be more distinct, and you'll be able to feel your baby's kicks, jabs, and elbows.

How Often Should I Feel My Baby Moving?

Early in your pregnancy, you may just feel a few flutters every now and then. But as your baby grows -- usually by the end of the second trimester -- the kicks should grow stronger and more frequent. Studies show that by the third trimester, the baby moves about 30 times each hour.

Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between alertness and sleep. They are usually most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., right as you're trying to get to sleep. This surge in activity is due to your changing blood sugar levels. Babies also can respond to sounds or touch, and may even kick your partner in the back if you snuggle too close in bed.

Should I Monitor My Baby's Kicking?

Once your baby's movements are well established (usually by week 28), some doctors recommend keeping track of all those little punches, jabs, and kicks to make sure your baby is still developing normally. There isn't any real scientific evidence to prove whether this method is a good indicator of the baby's well-being, so check with your health care provider to see what he or she recommends.

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