One of the most eagerly anticipated signs of a developing baby is the sensation of fetal movement. These movements, often referred to as "quickening," are a reassuring sign that your little one is growing and developing.
Not all babies move the same way while in the womb, however. It’s normal for expectant mothers to be concerned about what’s considered normal and when to be concerned about fetal movements.
At Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, our team’s top priorities are your health and your baby’s. We want to put your mind at ease so you know what is normal when it comes to fetal movement.
Take a moment to learn what’s normal vs. what you should bring to our attention when you feel your baby move.
Understanding fetal movement
Fetal movement is one of the earliest indicators of a growing fetus. It usually begins between the 16th and 25th weeks of pregnancy, although it may vary from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy.
These movements start subtly and may feel like gentle flutters, bubbles, or gas. As your pregnancy progresses, the movements become more pronounced and recognizable.
As you approach the third trimester, you might notice a change in the character of your baby's movements. They may become more deliberate and forceful, which is entirely normal.
Normal fetal movement
The frequency of fetal movement patterns can vary as well, but on average, you should feel your baby move at least 10 times in two hours. This is a general guideline, and it's important to remember that every pregnancy is unique. Some babies are naturally more active, while others are quieter.
You’ll notice your baby tends to be more active during certain times of the day, often when you're relaxed or lying down. Pay attention to your baby's individual schedule. You might notice a daily pattern of increased activity.
Fetal movements can include kicks, punches, rolls, and hiccups. It's essential to pay attention to different types of movements, not just the intensity.
When to be concerned about fetal movement
While fetal movement is a positive sign of your baby's well-being, here are some situations where you should contact us:
If you notice a significant decrease in fetal movements, or if your baby has been less active than usual, contact our office. This could indicate potential issues with your baby's health.
If you haven't felt any fetal movement by 24 weeks, you should absolutely contact our office. This could be a sign of fetal distress.
Sudden changes in movement
If you experience sudden and severe changes in your baby's movements, such as constant and violent kicking, this could be a cause for concern.
Lack of consistency
If your baby's movements are inconsistent or irregular, it's a good idea to seek medical advice. A consistent pattern of movements is often reassuring.
Fetal movement is a sign of your baby's growth and development and creates a beautiful connection between you and your unborn child. We want to help you understand what's normal and what's not so you can be attentive to your baby’s health and needs.
Contact Capital Women’s Care today to set up a consultation if you have any pregnancy or gynecology questions. Call or use this website to request your appointment today.