Feeling those little jabs and kicks inside your womb is indeed an exhilarating experience. Fetal movements can be felt at around 18 to 20 weeks. However, if you are a first time mother, you may not feel anything as such for 24 weeks. On the other hand, parous women can detect baby's movement at as early as 15 weeks. Counting kicks or baby's movements is important to detect if the pregnancy is progressing normally. Decreased fetal movement may cause mothers to panic; however, more often than not there is no cause to worry.
Fetal Movements at Various Stages of Pregnancy
Babies make several types of movements in your womb. During early pregnancy these are non specific, such as bending sideways, rotating head, fetal hiccups, or stretching. During the second trimester you may notice your baby making more specific ones, such as putting thumb in his/her mouth, poking her fingers, etc. The third trimester is marked with increased fetal activity. You can feel rolling, twisting, turning, somersaults inside your womb. Once, you start feeling your baby's movements, you will recognize a pattern in them. You may find that your baby is active during certain time of the day. A healthy baby makes about 10 movements in two hours. However, most babies kick and jab like crazy when they are active, thereby completing their quota of 10 movements in 15 minutes itself.
Decreased Fetal Movement in Early Pregnancy
Fetal movements are difficult to feel during the first trimester. It is not until the 20th week that you can feel something moving inside your belly. Hence, even though your baby is perfectly alright and healthy, you may hardly notice any movement. However, if you have detected fetal movements in your early pregnancy which suddenly appear to subside, you may want to call your midwife or doctor. Although this may not be always an alarming situation, you sure would like to hear it from a doctor. Hence, instead of getting anxious and stressing yourself, better call a doctor. An ultrasound or a Doppler will detect your baby's movements no matter how feeble they are. Oftentimes, babies go in a reserved mode and refuse to make any movements. In any case, we repeat, you should consult a doctor if you go for a couple of days without a fetal movement.
Decreased Fetal Movement Before Labor
Fetal movements are at peak from 28th to 32nd week. After that, their frequency and sharpness begin to trail off. In the final weeks of third trimester, it is common to feel reduction in fetal movements. The reason for decrease in them at 36 weeks and thereafter is, the growing baby finds it difficult to move around in the cramped uterus. After 38 weeks, baby assumes a head down position, thereby preparing for his/her entry in this world. Fetal movements at this stage are in form of sharp kicks in your ribs. It is not possible for the baby to roll over or move around freely. However, if you feel something amiss, report it to your doctor. Do not feel embarrassed about ringing a false alarm, as your baby's safety should be your first priority. Many women find that their babies start kicking frantically as soon as they come under ultrasound.
There could be other reasons for decreased fetal movement for a short time. A loud sound may startle your baby and scare him/her off, which forces him/her to keep quiet for long periods. However, the baby should resume his/her usual movements after some time. In the conclusion, we would again advise you to see a doctor if you experience a sudden reduction in fetal movements at any stage of your pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and it should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.