Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Even in the womb, an active baby is a healthy baby!

Even though fetal movements begin at about 7 to 8 weeks’ gestation, it isn’t until between 16 and 20 weeks into pregnancy that moms start feeling the baby twist, stretch, and kick (Hijazi & East 2009). Starting around 25 weeks, babies make movements to expand their lungs, practicing for life outside the womb.

There can be great variations among healthy babies as to how often and how hard they "kick". You may notice that your baby prefers a particular position or has a favorite time of the day to be most active. Generally, moms find their babies are most active after eating a meal, drinking something cold, or after physical activity. More pronounced body movements also are easy to notice when you change from a sitting to a lying position. When you shift and need to adjust a little bit, so does your baby.

The baby's movements will also change as he or she grows bigger and gets into position for birth. You will feel fewer big turns and twists, but more kicks and jabs as your pregnancy progresses and your baby has less room to move.

Sometimes it’s just calm…

Your baby will sleep many times in the course of a day. Around 28 weeks gestation, your baby has developed a regular wake and sleep cycle. Unfortunately, it may not be the same as yours. For instance, I find my baby to be very active late at night, between midnight and 2:00 am! You’ll notice, though, your baby’s periods of sleep last longer as your pregnancy goes on. Researchers have found that beginning at around 36 weeks’ gestation, babies normally pass through sleep cycles of deep sleep and light sleep. These cycles last about 70–90 minutes. During deep sleep your baby may not move at all, but during light sleep he may move a little bit or even suck his thumb or finger (Van den Bergh & Mulder 2012).

What the baby is telling you with his kicks is important!

Each baby is unique and will move in his own way. Your pregnancy check-up will help you keep an eye on your baby's well-being, but you are the one that "knows" your baby best before he is born. Though strongly recommended for high risk pregnancies, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) consider beneficial for every pregnant woman to count fetal movements beginning at 28 weeks. At this point, you should feel your baby move several times every day. Setting aside time every day when you know your baby is active to count kicks, rolls, and jabs may help identify potential problems and could help prevent stillbirth (Saastad et al. 2010).

Your doctor or midwife will explain to you how to count your baby’s kicks every day. Being attentive to your baby’s movements will help you notice any significant changes. Once you start feeling your baby kick every day, it is important that you notice when it kicks much less than usual. If you have any concern, call your doctor for advice.

You can practice feeling for kicks! 

It’s generally easier to feel the kicks when you are lying down than when you stand, walk or are busy. Some mothers have more trouble feeling their babies’ kicks than others. If the placenta is on the front side of the womb, or if you are overweight, you will feel the kicks less (Hijazi & East 2009). Start by finding a comfortable position during a time when your baby is usually most active. Some moms prefer sitting in a well-supported position with their arms holding their bellies. Other moms prefer lying on their left sides, which they find most comfortable and most effective for monitoring their babies. Lying on your left side also allows for the best circulation which could lead to a more active baby.

If you are pregnant, soon you will be spending a lot of time caring for your baby. We encourage you to devote a little time each day during your pregnancy to get to know your baby by his movements. Taking time to do your kick counts will allow you to rest and bond with your baby!

We’d love to hear about your own experience feeling your baby kick! Send us your comments!

References:

Hijazi ZR, East CE. Factors Affecting Maternal Perception of Fetal Movement. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2009; 64(7): 489-497.

Van den Bergh BR, Mulder EJ. Fetal sleep organization: A biological precursor of self-regulation in childhood and adolescence? Biol Psychol. 2012; 89(3): 584–590.

Saastad E, Holm Tveit JV, Flenady V, Stray-Pedersen B, Frett RC, Bordahl PE, Froen JF. Implementation of uniform information on fetal movement in a Norwegian population reduced delayed reporting of decreased fetal movement and stillbirths in primiparous women - A clinical quality improvement. BMC Res Notes. 2010; 3(2).

38 comments:

  1. whatever information has been provided is really helpful.. i am at my 25 weeks and feel my baby movements and i really enjoy doing it.. its the most pleasurable time of my life ...

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  2. Hi, Im in my 30th week now.. I agree with Maggie, the information is helpful. My baby is very active... I just need to sit down for 2mins and he/she starts the gymnastics... Its an amazing experience...

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  3. Im 25 Weeks and its real good to have information like that when its your first baby and dont know what you are expected

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  4. hi, i am about 25 weeks pregnant and i can already see how my baby is going to be awake at night. we go to sleep around 2 or 3 am almost everyday its hard for me to sleep in the day time or take a nap. yesterday she was moving for about 5 hours non stop! i love feeling her move it makes me feel assure that she is alive and well. i laugh at the kicks i feel because im just imagining what kind of stuff she is doing inside. i wish i could see inside my womb so i can see what she is doing? lol

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  5. I'm 30 weeks and my son is very active. I have been feeling movement since I was about 16 weeks. I have Strong bond with my son. I can tell what he want by the way he kicks. Sooo amazing! Due in may looking forward to seeing him")

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  6. i m 25 week and i m really feeling lots of kiks n belly motin n i enjoy alot.

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  7. I'm 23.4 weeks. I have been on bedrest since 10 weeks. I now notice whenever I lay on either of my sides my baby girl goes crazy with her movements. She is also up at night and more active I'm hoping this doesn't mean I'm going to deal with a bright eyed baby all NIGHT long once she comes....

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  8. I am 30 weeks pregnant and my son is very active as well. I love watching my tummy as he moves around. Babies are a true blessing from God!!

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  9. I'm 25 weeks pregnant, my angel is very active as well although she preferes midnight, lol
    It's the most amazing feeling in life, I love seeing her moving and kicking, I think this just a training for me to stay awake and play with her when she wants to.

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  10. I'm 32 weeks, and my little one is also very active, especially in the nighttime hours. There are even some days, like this past wednesday, where she will literally move around all day long, lol. From the moment I wake up, she's up kicking and rolling nonstop as long as I'm laying down. I also feel her move around often when I'm sitting down eating or even when I'm driving. She is such a blessing. I love feeling her move around and rubbing my hands on my stomach to feel her. I go to sleep holding her every night and tell her that I love her. She brings me a happiness and love I've never known before, and I cannot wait until she is here in person for me to share the rest of my life with her.

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  11. I am 29 weeks and my little boy has been very active! I started feeling movement as early as 16 weeks and it has increased every week. He twists and turns, kicks and jabs- I swear he is as restless in his sleep as his mommy and daddy. My daughter (now 5) was not nearly this active. Last night he pushed his whole body out against my tummy and we could actually make out the entire shape of his back- it was the weirdest thing I've ever experienced.

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  12. I'm 22 weeks and have a movey groovy little girl. I love her wiggles and kicks. Its amazing, especially when I eat her favorite foods and she kicks like she's enjoying it! I can feel her personality in her movements, and its truly a blessing. I thank God for this time in my life :-)

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  13. am 25weeks n ma baby girl kicks evrytm am lyin dwn or sitin down quitely.shes alwas up and doing during d midnit hours,wat amazes me mst is the way she kicks hapily weneva am talkn wit her dad on phone or wen am eatin wat i have come to notice is her favourite.dis ma first baby and am so amazed and hapi wit wat am filin

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  14. i am in 30 weeks & can feel moves & kicks of my baby.i m just waiting for him .his movements make me feel that he is comfirtable .

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  15. I am 29 weeks nows and love the feeling of my baby kicking :)
    It gives me such a reassurance to know that the baby is ok. The baby especially kicks when I have eaten - which makes me think - was she hungry too? I cant wait to meet the baby - so exciting!

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  16. GR8 info...truly answered my question an satisfied my curiosity. Truly helpful!! I must have a VERY HEALTHY baby cuz I have ALOT of movement CONSTANTLY!! YAY...We're soo excited for its arrival!!

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  17. My baby too starts movements when he hears his daddy voice its really a great feeling


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  18. Im 36 weeks and ready to pop....my baby is very active sometimes i think she playing with someone... And when her daddy comes around omg she really knows and wnt stop movin til he leaves yes its awesome... Having lots of braxton hics trying to wait patiently for my little princess occasionally have swelling...and constantly spitting ugh.... But the best part is yet to come when i can hold my little angel

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  19. I'm 36 weeks nd I like my baby too, wen he kick I used to laugh,even now m slpt by my left side nd is playing, I can't wait to c my little boy gv me love nd happiness between my man

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  20. Ok well I'm 7 months now & I'm having the hardest times to sleep. I'm a single mom & need to work but lately just feel like I can't take it anymore. I love my babygirl & she's amazin because I know her kicks & when she's goin to start kickin.. But then again, it takes the breath out of me'

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  21. Same here... im 36.4 weeks and my little "gymnast or rather boxer" just cant stop moving all around.me and my hubby use to hold my belly while trying to sleep and there are nights that my hubby will ask me "what is he doing??" Coz we can literally feel him moving at different spots of my belly in one time. He's very active at night specially between 10pm-3am (maybe an hour or less intervals of rest). And he will kick me with all his might in the morning around 8am..its like..Good Morning Mama! Rise and shine! Happiest feeling ever! ♥♥♥

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  22. Hi, thank you for the info! Ian writing because I am 25 weeks and I do NOT feel a whole lot of movement. I think it is OK and I enjoy what I feel, but it is true...in my case the placenta is on the front of belly and I am a little overweight. I only started feeling more significant little moves 1 week ago. I also know couple other women who gave birth to perfectly healthy babies and have not been feeling a whole lot all through the pregnancy. So not to be discouraged or worried if you cannot chime in here with feeling tremendous activity.

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  23. I am 33weeks presently,my baby started kicking at 5months(which i enjoyed it) but as the months progressed the kicking was so intense that i would start crying.At my 8month now,the kicking is too much esspecially towards 2am.Once he starts kicking,i wake up and atimes end up crying before finaly when he stops,i can now go back to sleep.4weeks to go,Gosh! Cant wait for him to be born.

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  24. I am now 30 weeks pregnant and my baby boy moves around all day long. I have four children but it still amazes me when i feel him move around.

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  25. I am 22 wks, and my lil girl moves ALL DAYYY LONNNGG.. lol. Its so wonderful to feel her kicks! Im glad she's healthy! ... Especially since I've felt so bad the last 4 months! Pregnancy is still truly a blessing!!

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  26. I'm 27 Weeks And I Most Definitely Agree This . I Love Feelinq My Unborn Son Movements

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  27. Im 25 weeks nd my baby girl is very active. But she tends to be more active when im lying down,n she loves to stay in my side. But she tosses nd turns all night mainly from 12-2:00 am. But i dont mind bc i know shes ok in there.

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  28. Im 25+3 weeks. First time mom. Its exciting and beautiful to feel this blessing move around alot. Cant wait to hold him.

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  29. My wife and I are at 16 weeks and although it may be too early to feel our little one on the outside my wife definitely feels him/her on the inside. My wife worries when she cant feel the baby so I went to CVS and bought a stethoscope,$11, so we can listen to the baby. You have to be in a quiet place and listen closely but sure enough you will hear the little one moving around and making noises. We cant wait!!! Due in June 2014.

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  30. Awesome! Im at 24 weeks and my little Noah has his active pants on. I love it! My husband knows when im feeling our son move because he said i get this smiley spaced out look on my face and put my hand on my tummy to feel. We're already able to see my entire tummy move when he kicks now...it excites my husband. Its such a blessing, Gids gift of pregnancy. Im thankful, even with the aches and stretching pains. Feeling Noah move and kick is the best part of my day. He loooooves orange juice, the natural sugar rush i guess:) and yes...most active after meaks, after baths, after walking, and when im going to sleep.

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  31. I am 34 weeks tomorrow and LG is moving and flipping almost all day long. So blessed to feel every movement. Even the painful ones!

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  32. Im 32 weeks.with my baby girl and shes always been active my whole pregnancy most late at night and in car rides here lately its all day but im wxcited bc every time.she kicks and moves its good and shes one active baby :)

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  33. I am 28 weeks tomorrow, and my baby has been one active little fellow! What amazes me is the way he moves... I suppose he is turning, but its like he takes his little hands or feet and slides it around my belly, mostly around the center and to the left. And he is responding to my hand on my belly. My first pregnancy, my daughter would all but stop moving if you tried to feel her. But this one, I swear he puts a hand, a foot, an elbow lol, something against where my hand is, hits it a few times, then just keeps it there, while I softly rub it. Fearless already :) lol... Its a beautiful opportunity I have to bond with him.

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  34. I am 21 weeks pregnant with twins - and oh my I have felt the strongest movements especially when the tag team and push their bodies against my skin on both sides! The feeling is absolutely amazing - unexplainable and fun! My husband is still in awe! I thank God for this eternal blessing - cannot wait to hold them both in my arms! All the best to all mothers! God bless

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  35. My baby is very active she always kicking especially when I'm laying on my back I'm 34 weeks now and due on May 12 2014 can't wait to meet her :-)

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  36. Love feeling her move in my womb

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  37. I am 18 weeks and 3days today...I am very small I weigh 51.3 and feel my baby boy moving already daddy has also felt it on the outside but says it is very light....I am so content

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  38. I am 24 weeks and just to feel my baby girl kick and move around puts a smile on my face. She starts moving and kicking around 3 pm - 2 am, she kicks and moves a lot more when I sit in certain positions and when I lie on my left side at night. At night, when I start to drift off to sleep she starts kicking away and wakes me up each time. I just open my eyes and smile and laugh and my boyfriend just kind of rolls over looks at me and smiles. This is our first child and we are incredibly anxious and excited for August to get here. <3 To be honest, I thought about this after a period of time and it's almost like its reincarnation of my Grandmother. They say with your first child you usually go 1 week past due and that puts the date around the 11th. my grandmother passed August 14th of last year and I lived with her for literally my whole life, she was like my mother and I think for this to happen is bringing a bigger and happier meaning to the month. :')

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