Pregnancy can be a very exciting time for expectant parents, and each day is crucial for a baby’s development inside the womb. Starting from a positive pregnancy test to the first ultrasound, expectant parents treasure these pregnancy milestones. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, a woman may not yet feel any physical indication that there is indeed a baby growing inside her womb.

Many pregnant women feel their baby’s first movements or quickening between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. However, there are some women who feel fetal movement as early as the 13th week or pregnancy. This can occur for second-time moms who are already familiar with the sensation. Some first-time moms on the other hand, may not feel fetal movement until the 18th to the 20th week of pregnancy.

Many women describe the sensation as butterfly-like flutters or nervous twitches, while others feel a tumbling motion. First-time moms may find it hard to set apart fetal movements from hunger pangs, gas, or other internal movements. As pregnancy progresses to the second and last trimesters, these movements become more distinct and, a pregnant woman can then feel strong kicks, jabs, or elbows. However, fewer kicks are expected after the 32nd week of pregnancy, due to the limited amount of space that babies have during this time.

Once your baby starts moving, try to determine whether there is a pattern. The movements are actually well-established by the 28th week of pregnancy. This is then the best time to start observing a baby’s fetal movements. Babies tend to be more active between 9 pm and 1 am, which makes sleeping harder for some women. Babies also respond to touch or sound, and they may also move after a meal or when a woman is resting.

Since babies move a lot inside the womb, many women may just take it in stride. Fetal kicks actually go beyond building an early connection between mother and child. Keeping track of fetal movements is actually a way of making sure that your baby is still developing normally. Although no scientific findings can prove that it can serve as indicators of a baby’s well-being, doctors have long recommended that women pay close attention to their baby’s patterns of movement.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that mothers take note of the time it takes for babies to make at least 10 fetal movements. Babies are expected to make ten movements in a span of two hours. When observing your baby’s movements, choose the time of day when your baby is most active. This may be after a meal, or during times when you notice more movements than usual.

Try to make it a habit of checking your baby’s fetal movement. This is a proactive way in ensuring that your pregnancy is progressing normally. If you already know your baby’s pattern of movement, and you notice that there is a significant change in the pattern, contact your health care provider. This is particularly important so that tests can be done to determine any problems.

Pregnant women need to stay healthy so that certain pregnancy risks can be avoided. Monitoring fetal kicks or movements don’t require much effort, and mothers can simply lie on their left side and time these movements. Try to do this everyday because this is one simple way of knowing that your baby’s alright, without having to go to your doctor’s office.