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Everything You Need To Know About Fetal Movement During Pregnancy

Words fall short to describe a woman's feelings when she experiences her baby's movement. This is also referred to as "quickening" for the first time. In addition to the inexplicable happiness and excitement, these movements are also indicative of the healthy fetal growth development. Mentioned below are a few interesting facts about baby kicks and flutters that will make your pregnancy all the more fun as well as stress-free! 

When can one expect the baby kick/flutters?

In most cases, a pregnant woman is able to feel the baby's first kicks/flutter between 16-25 weeks of her pregnancy. However, those embracing motherhood for the first time may have to wait until 24-25 weeks to feel those flutters. As the pregnancy progresses (generally 32 weeks onwards), the movements become more prominent. In addition to the kicks, you will also start experiencing your baby's tiny hand movements, hiccups, turns, changing sides and rolls. Even though one might feel the movements by 24th-25th weeks, your baby starts moving much earlier than that i.e. between 7th-9th weeks of pregnancy. However, in the early stages of pregnancy, the fetal movements are not very strong or prominent. Hence, it goes unrecognized by you. During subsequent pregnancies, one is more likely to experience the fetal movements much earlier. This is generally by the 13th week of pregnancy.

Factors/stimuli that can trigger fetal movements

A lot of factors contribute towards the fetal movement, the most common of which include food and sound.

In most cases, by the 23rd-27th week of pregnancy, the baby will start hearing faint and low-pitch sounds such as the mother's heartbeat or breathing. However, at the later stages (27th-33rd weeks of pregnancy), high-pitched sounds become audible to the baby. Thus, you can expect your baby's movement on playing some music. You can also expect some fetal movement when you or any other family members talk or read to the baby.

During pregnancy, when you eat, the amniotic fluid (yellowish liquid present in the amniotic sac that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy) acts as a connecting bridge introducing your baby to the different food flavors and tastes. You can observe fetal movement as an expression of their fondness or displeasure for the particular taste/flavor. So, the next time you binge on some lip-smacking cuisine - get ready for some cute movements from within the womb.

The number of baby kicks/movements considered healthy and normal

In case of a healthy pregnancy, doctors suggest keeping a count of the baby movements from the start of the third trimester or 28th week onwards. On an average, in 2 hours of time, one should be able to feel at least 10 baby kicks/movements. Various research suggests that the number of fetal movements may reduce if you sleep/lie on your back. This is becuase it tends to disrupt the flow of blood to the baby. Thus, during pregnancy, it is best to sleep on your side (preferably on the left side) to feel the fetal movements better.

Implications of less than 10 fetal movement count in 2 hours

If there are less than 10 movements/kicks of your baby even after 2 hours, consult your attending health physician at the earliest as this could be indicative of :-

Placental abruption: In placental abruption, the placenta gets detached from the uterine lining. The detachment can severely interfere with the fetal development as it reduces the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the baby to a significant extent.

Fetal hypoxia: As indicative of the name, fetal hypoxia results in the fetus getting deprived of oxygen supply triggered by the deformation or twisting of the umbilical cord.

The inadequate supply of oxygen to the fetus can also surface due to premature or sudden rupture of the amniotic sac.

Reduced fetal movement can also be an outcome of extreme maternal stress and anxiety or an unhealthy dietary habit of the mother. This is why doctors emphasize that a woman should eat a healthy nutritious diet, stay happy and stress-free during your pregnancy. 

When can my partner feel the baby movements?

With patience, your partner should be able to experience those tiny flutters by the 24th-28th weeks of pregnancy.

The pregnancy and the baby movements are indeed very precious. Enjoy the phase and stay relaxed and cheerful! 

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