One of the questions that women ask themselves at the beginning of pregnancy is when will I begin to feel the movements of the baby in the womb? We can say that this unforgettable sensation will actually happen quite a few weeks after the fetus begins to move.
Therefore, although there is no single answer for all women, there are some stages of normal development of the fetus that will determine its ability to move, and will approximately place the moment when we notice them.
The movements of the baby begin to be noticed in the womb around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, a sensation that will be repeated frequently until the moment of birth.
Before that stage, it is not that the baby does not move, but in the “width” of the maternal uterus and with the belly still small, without there being pressure on the walls of the uterus or that they press on our abdominal muscles, it is not they notice the movements. Let’s see step by step how the baby moves in your womb .
Chronology of the movements of the baby in the womb
- The first weeks the embryo grows at accelerated steps , forming more and more, and the main external characteristics of the baby begin to take shape, until reaching the stage in which it is called “fetus”, from the eighth week . The end of the eighth week marks the end of the “embryonic period” and the beginning of the “fetal period.”
- It is then when the baby begins to move more, although the mother still takes time to perceive it. Around week 12 of pregnancy the baby can grasp his fingers, and by week 14 more muscle and bone tissue has developed, and the bones become harder: the baby begins to make active movements, such as sucking movements with mouth.
- It is therefore around week 20 when the baby makes more movements and the mother may feel an agitation in the lower abdomen. And it is that those first perceptible movements can feel like butterflies or bubbles, they are not yet the expected kicks that will take a little longer to notice.
- From week 23 on, the baby is more active and has greater muscular development, while at the same time it begins to accumulate fat, so the mother can feel the baby moving more clearly.
- At week 26, the fetus presents the grasp and startle reflex , these startles can be felt, for example, as a reaction to a loud sound, a start from the mother, a sudden movement from the mother …
- Around week 32 the baby has grown a lot and has less room to move, but will continue to do so until birth no matter how tight it is. The kicks are clearly perceptible, even with the naked eye you can see the lumps that move on the pregnant woman’s belly.
- In the last month of pregnancy , especially when we are around the expected date of delivery, her movements have decreased due to the little space she has to move . But it will continue to do so, and if not we have to go immediately to the doctor.
Neither in all women nor in all pregnancies do the movements feel the same
Obviously, not all pregnancies or all women are the same, so most mothers do not agree on the dates referring to the first time they felt the baby’s movements or the description of the sensation. Some pregnant women are more sensitive than others so they could detect movement earlier.
In addition, in the second and subsequent pregnancies, the baby’s movements are felt earlier , although this is not always the case and many women notice them at the same pregnancy height or even later.
But it is more common to notice the movements or first kicks of the baby in subsequent pregnancies, and this is because both the muscles of the abdominal wall and the uterus, which have been dilated during the first pregnancy, are less toned. By having the muscles of the abdomen more distended, it is easier for them to give in to the first movements (moving a tight muscle or feeling that it is pushed is more difficult).
In this sense, it can also influence that we already have the experience of what those sensations are due to the previous pregnancy (which could also indicate that in a first pregnancy the movements occurred earlier but went unnoticed).
In general, it is from week 18 in the first pregnancy and from week 15-16 in the second pregnancy when the baby’s movements begin to be noticed . If the pregnancy is multiple or the pregnancy date is wrong and we are actually pregnant for a longer time, it is also possible that the movements are noticed earlier.
Subscribe to receive our tips on pregnancy, motherhood, babies, breastfeeding and family every day.
Feel and see the baby’s movements
In these times, not everything is feeling the baby. We can also see him move. In ultrasound scans in the last trimester, it is common, if we look at the monitor, to see how the baby moves, even to perceive if it makes subtle movements that we do not perceive in the belly, such as thumb sucking.
High definition ultrasounds in “3 D” and “4 D” can even show us gestures of the baby, if he frowns, if he “smiles” … thanks to the fact that the images are seen in three dimensions and with more detail.
These first images of the movements of the baby in the womb are very exciting, but no matter how clear they are, we will still have to imagine a good part of their appearance. When it is born, although we will be full of new emotions, we will have a strange feeling, we will surely miss that feeling of the baby moving inside us.