Although no one can quite prepare you for what you will experience when you feel those early flutters from Baby, it will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable moments of your life as a mom-to-be. These first flutterings from Baby are called quickening. Although each pregnancy and woman is different, as your baby continues to grow as the months pass, he will soon stretch his legs and arms quite often while nestled in the safety of your womb.
When Does Baby Start to Kick?
Those first precious moments of beginning movement from your developing baby usually occur between the 16th to 20th week of pregnancy. Dr. Henry L. Galan, associate professor, chief and director of the maternal-fetal medicine program at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colo., says first-time moms should expect to feel Baby move closer to 20 weeks, and they should not be alarmed about feeling movement later than that time. “Some women aren’t completely sure about movements until 21 to 22 weeks,” he says. “Women who have had previous pregnancies will feel movement often on the earlier side of the 16-to-20-week range.”
One, Two, Three, Kick!
Fetal movement is an important sign of your baby’s health, and at some point during the course of your pregnancy, your primary care provider will ask you to keep track of your baby’s movements, commonly referred to as “kick counts.” Mom-to-be should try to set time every day to keep notes on how many times Baby kicks, sometimes to a count of 10 or how many per half hour. Most any time of day will do, but one of the best times to sit back and start counting is after dinner when your baby is probably more active.
These first flutterings from Baby are called quickening.
As your pregnancy continues through the second and third trimesters, your baby’s movements become more pronounced, and you will soon start to believe that there is a little prizefighter growing in your ever-expanding belly!
In their best-selling guidebook, What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Workman Publishing, 3rd Ed., 2002), authors Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff and Sandee E. Hathaway explain that fetal movement is most active between the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy. Although babies’ movement is erratic, the authors state that “fetal activity usually becomes more organized and consistent, with more clearly defined periods of rest and activity, between 28 and 32 weeks.”
When the Kick Count Goes Down
However, a question can arise: How concerned should an expectant woman be if her baby has failed to move during the course of a day? The answer could be as simple as this: Baby may be taking a rest.