Every baby is unique! Some babies literally sleep all day and move at night when you are asleep, whereas others seem to be moving all the time. But, it is also possible that you just notice your baby’s movements more at night as it is easier to feel the baby move when you are relaxed and lying down than when you are walking, standing, or occupied with other things.
Feeling your baby move can be an exciting milestone on your journey to motherhood. Generally, an active baby is usually an indication of a healthy baby. Some women may not feel their baby move as strongly as others though, especially those who have their placenta located in front of the uterus or who have a large body size, even when their baby is perfectly healthy.1 Lets take a look at what your baby’s movements mean.
You might be able to feel your baby moving about eighteen weeks into your pregnancy. If it’s your first pregnancy, it might take about twenty weeks. By your second pregnancy you might notice that fluttering feeling in your tummy as early as the sixteenth week of pregnancy.
You might first sense a fluttering sensation, a “ butterflies in your stomach” kind of thing, you could also feel a rolling, tumbling, or swishing sensation or even a tiny kick. As your pregnancy proceeds your baby’s movements will become more frequent and distinct. The kind of movement you sense will depend on what your baby’s doing and her stage of development. And every baby is unique so some will be more active than others.
As your baby grows and your skin gets stretched more tightly over your womb it will be easier to feel the baby kicking, jabbing, or elbowing. Nearer the end of your pregnancy it might even hurt when your baby kicks your ribs.2
Babies are prone to move more at particular times of the day, your baby may be more active when you’re asleep and sleep when you’re up and about. Unborn babies generally sleep for about twenty to forty minutes at a time (sometimes they may even sleep up to 90 minutes), and they tend not to move when they’re asleep. Try to familiarize yourself with your baby’s movement patterns- each baby is different and you may find that your baby tends to be more active during certain times in the day or night.
It’s also possible that you just tend to notice your baby’s movements more at night. You’re less likely to feel your baby moving while you’re walking, standing, or busy with other things. And it’s easiest to notice your baby’s movements while you’re lying down or relaxing.3 4
If your baby’s movements reduce or stop it could indicate a problem. If you’ve not felt your baby move 24 weeks into your pregnancy, or you feel that your baby’s moving less, or you’re worried about your baby’s movements for some reason there’s a simple check that you can do. Support your baby bump with a pillow and lie on your left side. Now pay attention to any sensation that you get from your baby for two hours. You should be able to feel at least ten distinct movements in those two hours. If you don’t then please speak to your doctor. Your doctor can check out your baby’s movements and heart rate so that you can find out if something’s wrong. It’s also a good idea to get medical help if you notice any unusual changes to your baby’s movement patterns.