Fetal movement in the uterus is a normal part of a healthy pregnancy. It’s the first emotional bond a mom has with her unborn baby.
Even though kicks can be uncomfortable for the mother, every sharp kick helps shape your baby’s growing bones. A recent study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface found that the force of fetal kicks markedly increases between 20 and 30 weeks gestation, and then declines by 35 weeks. This suggests that a baby’s kicks are the most vigorous during those middle stages of fetal development, just when bones and joints are beginning to take shape.
Reduced or absent movement can lead to problems with development of bones and joints including joint dysplasia and temporary brittle bone disease in infants.
When your baby’s kicking, it’s probably not just a friendly salutation from the inside — it’s an important part of fetal development. So moms who get kicked a little too hard can rest assured that it’s a productive part of the process.
When Should I Feel My First Baby Kick?
Babies start moving at 12 weeks, but mom is unlikely to feel anything besides “flutters” until 16 to 20 weeks.
That’s when you’ll feel your first baby kick. Baby kicks should strengthen, with a complement of twitches (those are baby hiccups!), through the third trimester, slowing down slightly around week 36 when the womb becomes too crowded for vigorous thrashing.
When are Babies Very Active in The Womb?
Babies are most active in the morning and in the evening, and their kicks are easiest to detect when the mother is sitting or lying down.
- If at any point you suspect the baby is moving less than usual (even after 36 weeks), call your doctor immediately. Babies don’t move all the time but, as a rule of thumb, shoot for 10 movements per hour in the third trimester.
- If a child is always kicking in the morning, even one morning without fetal movement is cause for concern.