Feeling Your Baby's Movements: When to Expect Them During Pregnancy

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Published On
22 Aug, 2022
Read Time
2 minutes

Feeling your baby move is one of the most magical parts of pregnancy.

Most mums begin to feel their baby move between 16 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. These first movements are sometimes called 'quickening', but it's worth noting that if you're pregnant for the first time, you may not feel them move until after 20 weeks.

It's advised that you speak to your midwife if you've not felt your baby move by 24 weeks. They will be able to monitor your baby's heartbeat and movements.

We're going to run through a timeline of baby movements during pregnancy, and answer some of the most common questions that mums ask about their baby's kicks.

When can you feel your baby move?

Here is a rough guide to baby movements during pregnancy...

  • Week 12 - Baby starts moving but you won't feel anything just yet.
  • Week 16 - You may start to feel your baby's first tiny flutters.
  • Week 20 - Baby's movements quicken.
  • Week 24 - Baby's movements become more established as their muscles strengthen.
  • Week 28 - Frequent and strong movements.
  • Week 36 - Your baby's strong movements continue but may feel different as there's less space for them to move around. You should be able to feel your baby moving right up until you go into labour.

When will others be able to feel my baby move?

Your partner, friends and family won't be able to feel the baby move as early as you can. When they feel the baby's movements by touching your bump differs from one pregnancy to another.

Every pregnancy is different, and there's no set 'normal' amount that a baby should move.

You'll soon get familiar with your baby's movements. Because every baby and every pregnancy is unique, it's best to only base your 'normal' on what you've experienced during your pregnancy so far.

If you notice that your baby's movements have changed in any way - such as slowing down or stopping altogether - be sure to contact your midwife or health visitor without delay. They will be happy to check on your baby for you and are available 24/7.

No, you should never try to force your baby's movements. Babies do respond to touch or sound, but you shouldn't try to make them move.

First-time mums sometimes find it tricky to detect their baby's early movements, while second- or third-time mums can often feel them more easily.

People commonly describe their baby's early movements as feeling like flutters, twitches, or tumbles. And later into the pregnancy, they begin to feel like rolls, kicks, and jerks. You may even be able to feel your baby's tiny hiccups!

Lots of parents find that they feel their baby's movement more during the afternoon and evening.

This is because these are the times when you're more likely to be resting, relaxing on the sofa, or lying in bed. During the day, you don't notice your baby's movements as much because you're walking around and more active in general.

During pregnancy, babies are typically most active between 9pm to 1am, due to a change in your blood sugar levels. You'll also find that your baby will be stillest during their own sleep periods. These usually last between 20 and 40 minutes and are rarely longer than 90 minutes.