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Butterflies or Baby Kicks?: All The Answers To Your Questions About Baby Kicks

Feeling your baby kick for the first time is perhaps one of the most exciting moments in motherhood. Believe it or not, feeling your baby kick is a lot more than just definitive proof that there is a bun in the oven. Your baby’s kicks can tell you a lot about what’s going on in there as well as if there any concerns that you should be aware of. Here are some things to consider while you feel your little one kick away.

When Will You Feel Your Baby Kick?

For first time moms, you are likely to feel your baby kicking anywhere from sixteen to twenty-five weeks. For some second time moms, you may even start to feel your baby kicking as soon as thirteen weeks. Second time moms are more likely to recognize what a baby kick feels like and for this reason, they can often feel baby kicking sooner.

What Do Baby Kicks Feel Like?

Is it gas? An upset stomach? Butterflies in your belly? If it’s the first time you feel the baby kicking in your belly, chances are you probably won’t be able to recognize it as a fetal movement at first. You may chalk it up to your belly doing things that a belly does, but soon enough, you may notice these strange movements more and more often. These first, often unrecognizable, fetal movements are called “quickening.” Many first time mothers describe the quickening as a feeling of having butterflies in your stomach. Other moms describe quickening as strange flipping movements almost as if your belly is doing backflips or tumbles. You may even feel something like a strange tickling sensation coming from the inside of your belly.


baby kicks

What Causes A Baby To Kick?

Well first, there’s the no-brainer. Your baby kicks because duh, she needs to move around in there. But did you know that there are environmental factors that can bring on baby kicks? Some factors include taking a bright flashlight and shining it on your belly to encourage your baby to move. This will probably work best in your third trimester when baby can start recognizing changes in lighting. Along with that, any loud noises can make your baby move around. When baby hears music or the sound of your voice, don’t be surprised if you feel them give you a little nudge.

How Do Fetal Kicks Change Throughout Pregnancy?

When you start feeling your baby kick for the first time, it will quickly become a sensation that you won’t be able to forget. The quickening sensation of your first trimester will gradually change into more defined nudges that only you will be able to feel. Be prepared to jump at the unexpected nudges. But don’t count on your partner being able to feel the kicks just yet. It’s still too early for anyone other than you to feel the kicks. As the week’s progress, the subtle nudges will begin to change into obvious kicks that feel more like rolls across your belly. If you pay close enough attention to the kicks, you may even be able to start distinguishing between elbows and legs. The fun begins towards the end of your pregnancy when your cute, gentle baby kicks turn into karate chops. 

The once subtle fetal movements are now full-blown jabs. For some unlucky moms, your little one may even gift you a broken rib or two or even some bruising that yep, you guessed it, can leave sore marks. Finally, don’t be surprised when you start seeing your baby’s kicks. That’s right. One of the most exciting times in pregnancy is seeing your baby’s elbow or foot span across one side of your belly to the other side.

Should I Be Counting Kicks?

Yes! Everyone who is pregnant should count baby kicks. You need to make sure your little one is growing accordingly. To do this, you will need to start tracking your little one’s baby kicks. The recommended time frame to count baby kicks is at around 28 weeks. If you’ve had a complicated pregnancy, or are carrying multiples, you should start counting kicks sooner – about 23 weeks. Not only will counting baby kicks help you monitor baby, but it’s a great way to bond with your baby.

Consider it playtime before your baby arrives. Finally, counting fetal movement will allow you to understand your little one better. For example, you’ll know her schedule; when she wakes, when she’s asleep, and when she’s playing around. Knowing what is “normal” for your little one will help you understand when something isn’t right.

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How To Count Fetal Kicks.

Doing your fetal kick count is rather simple. Pick a specific time in the day that you can do your baby kick counts. I recommend the evening or right before you go to bed. When you’re up and about all day, your little one is likely asleep, so you may not get a good amount of kicks then. To start counting your fetal kick counts, place your hand on your belly, and start counting. Your aim should be to reach ten or more kicks in a thirty minutes to a one-hour timeframe. And when I say kicks, really any movement can count as a kick. If you aren’t feeling many kicks, then try nibbling on something sweet like chocolate or laying down on your left side. Wait fifteen minutes and then start your fetal kick counts once more.

How Can I Bring On Baby Kicks?

If you are feeling a little worried about your little one, there are ways you can bring on fetal movement. Keep in mind that baby is spending most of his time sleeping in the womb. Not only that, but your daily movements like walking around and moving throughout the day is likely rocking baby to sleep. If you do want to feel the baby kick, there are a couple of ways to bring them on. Try eating something sweet like chocolate to get baby stirring. If chocolate doesn’t do it, spicy foods can. Just be sure that when you eat, you wait a couple of minutes.

Use Kick Counts To Determine Baby’s Position

Toward the end of your pregnancy, fetal kick counts can help you figure out how the baby is positioned in the womb. Baby’s position is important in your last weeks because the right positioning is important for delivery. In the weeks before your baby is born, you will want her to be positioned in the occiput anterior presentation. This means that your baby’s head is down and her hands and feet are facing your spine. If you feel kicks under your rib cage or higher up in your belly, this is a good sign. You should also feel kicking deep inside your belly as opposed to baby kicks closer to the surface of your belly. Don’t be surprised if you feel little movements down in your groin area either. This is likely baby opening and closing her fists and scratching around.

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When Should I Be Worried?

As your pregnancy progresses, you should probably have an understanding by now of what “normal” fetal movements should look like in your pregnancy. If you start feeling anything other than normal, it is probably best that you contact your doctor just to be sure. If you set aside time to do your fetal kick counts, and you are not feeling ten or more baby kicks or movements in a one-hour time frame, then you should contact your doctor immediately to be sure that there’s nothing fishy going on.

Enjoy Your Baby’s Kicks

I’ve always told my husband that guys really miss out when it comes to pregnancy. There’s really no other feeling than feeling a little booger kicking around in your uterus. From the tiny jabs of quickening to the full-blown karate chops, be sure to enjoy every little kick through your pregnancy. It won’t be long before you can meet the little toesies that have been kicking you all along.

Related Article: Is That Normal? A Guide to Baby Spit Up, Poop, and Skin

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