Most mothers-to-be eagerly await that first reassuring flutter, just to
know their baby is growing and developing. Sometime between
18-25 weeks into pregnancy, moms will begin to feel movement. For first-time moms, it may occur closer
to 25 weeks, and for second or third-time moms, it may occur closer to 18 weeks.
Don’t panic if you’re not sure what you’re feeling. For
a couple of weeks it may be difficult to distinguish between gas and the
real thing, but very soon, you will notice a pattern. You will gradually
learn your baby’s sleeping and waking cycles when he or she is most
active, and what seems to trigger activity.
Being attentive to your baby’s movements will help you notice any
significant changes. Setting aside time every day when you know your baby
is active to count kicks, swishes, rolls, and jabs may help identify potential
problems and can help prevent stillbirth. Though strongly recommended
for high-risk pregnancies, counting fetal movements beginning at 28 weeks
may be beneficial for all pregnancies.
Counting your baby’s movements
There are numerous ways to count your baby’s movements and numerous
opinions on how many movements you are looking for within a certain amount
of time. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
recommends that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters,
swishes or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel at least 10 movements within
2 hours. You will likely feel 10 movements in less time than that.
You might want to start a notebook or use the various charts below. In
a notebook, record the time you feel the first fetal movement, place a
check mark for each movement you feel until you reach 10, then record
the time of the tenth movement. This will help you observe patterns and
discover how long it normally takes for your baby to move 10 times. Keep
in mind you are looking for significant deviations from the pattern.
It can become easy to expect an exact amount of time every time you do
your kick counts; however, there can be a wide range of time differences.
So remember to look for significant deviations from the pattern over the
course of a few days.
When should I call my physician?
If you have followed the above recommendations and have not felt 10 kicks
by the end of the second hour, wait a few hours and try again. If after
trying a second time, you do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours you
should contact your health care provider. Or, if you notice a significant
deviation from the pattern over the course of three to four days.