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Feeling Your Baby Kick

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.

If you are counting, it helps to chart your baby's kicks so that you can keep track of your baby's normal patterns of movement. To count movements, pick a time when your baby is usually most active (often, this is right after you've eaten a meal). Get into a comfortable position either sitting down in a comfortable chair or lying on your side.

Opinion varies as to how to count your baby's movements, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends noting the time it takes for your baby to make 10 movements. You should feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period.

If you don't feel your baby move 10 times by the end of two hours, try again later in the day. Then if you still can't feel 10 movements in two hours, or your baby is much less active than normal, call your health care provider, who can check your baby's heart rate and movements.

If You Don't Feel Your Baby Moving

If you haven't yet reached 25 weeks and don't feel your baby move, or you're not sure that what you're feeling is actually your baby, don't panic. As your baby grows, you'll be able to better distinguish his or her movements. You'll also figure out at what times of the day your baby is most active. Some babies just naturally move less often than others.

A lack of movement also may mean that your baby is asleep. You may feel fewer kicks and jabs after the 32nd week as your baby gets bigger and has less room to move around in the uterus.

If your baby has started to move regularly and you don't feel at least 10 movements within a two-hour period, or the movements have slowed significantly, it's time to call your doctor.

Timeline of Baby Movement

Here is a guide to your baby's possible movements.

Week 12: Your baby should start to move, but you probably won't be able to feel anything, because the baby is still so small.

Week 16: Some pregnant women will start to feel tiny butterfly-like flutters. The feeling might just be gas, or it might be the baby moving.

Week 20: By this point in your baby's development, you may start to really feel your baby's first movements, called "quickening."

Week 24: The baby's movements are starting to become more established. You might also begin to feel slight twitches as your baby hiccups.

Week 28: Your baby is moving often now. Some of the kicks and jabs may take your breath away.

Week 36: Your uterus is getting crowded as the baby grows, and movements should slow down a bit.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on July 05, 2014

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