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How your baby's movement changes through pregnancy - and the signs it's healthy

new baby

Some babies kick more than others.

If a baby moves their body for longer than a few seconds, or kicks a limb out repeatedly for more than seven, you're more likely to notice. So it's down to how active a baby is, and every one is different.

 Another factor is whether your baby is facing the front or back. Some have their spine at the front of your bump (anterior position), others mean the placenta is at the front of your bump (anterior placenta).

But all babies move around as they grow. And as pregnancy shifts towards birth, movement changes in the womb. As time goes on and your baby grows, they'll shift and squeeze for space. Later, they'll calm down and settle as they ready themselves for the big push.

It's important to be aware of the regular pattern of baby kicks and bumps – they're signs your baby is doing well. This list has been put together by Babycentre , and shows the gradual change as time goes on.

Again, everyone's different and this isn't a rigid structure, but is a general guide:

16 weeks to 19 weeks

You'll start to notice faint and fluttery feelings during this period. A gentle bubbling sensations might also arrive. If it's your first pregnancy, it might take longer to notice.

20 weeks to 23 weeks

Gentle kicks and repetitive jerking may start to happen – especially if your baby gets hiccups! These will gradually increase and become stronger. Movement might depend on time of day, with more kicking in the evening, for example.

24 weeks to 28 weeks

 

The amniotic sac now contains up to 750ml (26fl oz) of fluid, which gives your baby plenty of space to move around in freely. Limb flailing might be a little punchy, while sudden noises could even cause your baby to jump.

29 weeks to 31 weeks

During this time babies tend to start making smaller, sharper, and more definite movements. Their limbs are more fully developed. You could start feeling pushes as your little one gets a bit cramped in your womb.

32 weeks to 35 weeks

This might be the most exciting time for feeling your baby inside you. The frequency of moving around increases, but could be slower and more sustained. Your baby doesn't have much space. It will all feel harder and more rigid.

36 weeks to 40 weeks

The wriggling is coming to an end and your baby should be going into their final head-down position. The muscles of your womb should be starting to push everything down in preparation.

If this is your first baby, he will probably take up his final head-down position at around 36 weeks, if he hasn't already. The firm muscles of your womb and tummy will help to keep him in place.

Not all babies come out in the optimum position, but if so, it'll probably feel like there's a melon pressing down on your pelvic floor. Of course, these days breech births can usually be reversed.

It might sound obvious, but as your due date comes closer – or even passes – your baby will be getting bigger all the time. They'll be much stronger, and moving around, knowing it's time to leave the confines of your womb.

 

"It's normal to notice a change in the types of movement you feel in late pregnancy," Babycentre says. "But you should still be feeling your baby move right up until, and even during labour itself.

"Rather than counting your baby’s kicks, it’s better to pay attention to your baby’s pattern of movements so that you know what’s normal. If you’ve noticed that your baby is moving less than usual, or you are at all worried about your baby, call your midwife. She can listen to your baby's heartbeat to check that all is well."

And remember – there'll always be times where your baby is asleep, or just relaxing. What's more, their pattern of activity will be random until day and night is determined.

1st February 2018, 12:14
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Page updated 1st Feb 2018, 12:14
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