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Fetal Movement: A Kicking Good Time?

One of the more exciting aspects of pregnancy, aside from decorating the nursery, is getting to feel your baby move inside your womb. The first flutters that begin to appear anywhere from Week 16 to 25 make the pregnancy suddenly feel more ‘real.’ There’s life growing inside you, and now you can feel it! For me, these first flutters happened quite late in the second trimester? if yours do, too, don’t worry. They will come with time!

The first kicks are also quite a thrill. And it’s completely mind-blowing when you lie on your couch for the first time and actually see your belly moving. Some women report actually seeing the outline of a tiny hand or foot.

As your pregnancy advances, dads-to-be enjoy this experience, too. Although, in my experience, the baby seems to know when Daddy’s hand is on my belly and seems to get very, very quiet!

Then the kicks get harder and harder. Soon, you find yourself jumping in surprise at a well-placed punch or sighing with weariness when the baby seems to be on a rampage.

You may notice that the baby moves around more at night. That’s because your activity, the sway of your hips as you walk, for instance, during the day, lulls her to sleep. This often means that as you’re ready to call it a night, baby is awake and practicing kickboxing moves on your insides.

Sometime in the second or third trimester, you’ll begin to recognize your baby’s sleeping and waking patterns. For instance, our little girl is wide awake from about 7 to 10 PM. In fact, the other night, she was moving around so much, I couldn’t sleep. Rather than wake my husband, I got up and sat rocking in our glider chair until the baby fell asleep. I smiled as I realized this was a preview of nights to come. After about 20 minutes, the baby fell asleep and, within 10 minutes after that, so did I!

An ice cold glass of milk also makes her very active. This comes in handy for counting fetal movements.

After 28 weeks, some doctors and midwives recommend lying very still during one of your baby’s more active periods and counting all fetal movements for an hour. According to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, you should feel at least 10 movements in an hour. However, these guidelines vary, so use your judgment, too.

If the fetal movement count seems low to you, wait a while, drink some milk or something else that makes your baby active, and try again. If you still feel decreased movement, or none at all, call your medical practitioner.

Entering my 35th week now, I haven’t done any formal kick-counting; my midwives never recommended it to me. However, when I notice the baby is less active during a time of day when she’s normally moving around, I lie very still, drink some milk, and wait for her to wake up, just to set my mind at ease. In every case, she has woken up before I got overly concerned.

This morning, I had the opposite problem. Feeling exhausted after a late night working, I decided to take a nap shortly after breakfast. Lest anyone think all work-at-home types do is sleep all day, I was conflicted on whether to give in to the urge or not. I don’t normally nap in the middle of the workday! Then one of my friends, a mother of two, pointed out: ‘There won’t be many more opportunities where you can just lie down and sleep at will!’

Normally, the baby isn’t very active mid-morning, or perhaps I just don’t notice it. So I cuddled up into bed on my left side, all comfy, eventually got my eldest cat to settle down (she was quite excited that I was joining her for a nap and decided to thank me with purrs and head butts) – and then the baby got the hiccups.

These constant rhythmic movements, not painful like kicks, but distracting, combined with my feeling sorry for the poor baby (no one likes getting the hiccups!) prevented me from sleeping. Perhaps my days of napping at will are over already.

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