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When Should I Feel My Baby Move?

By Rebecca Falnes.

It is very common to wonder when you’ll finally get to feel your baby’s little movements and kicks during pregnancy. It’s not a straightforward answer and there are a few variables to take into consideration. The biggest factor is the location of your placenta. Where the placenta attaches is completely random (and also has no bearing on whether your child is a boy or girl, contrary to what some websites out there may have you believe – you’ve got a 50/50 shot). It also doesn’t change position during the pregnancy – where it attaches is where it will stay.

The placenta forms during the first trimester and takes over feeding your baby between 12-13 weeks of pregnancy. If you picture your uterus (or womb) like a ball, the placenta can be anywhere around it – front, back, top, bottom, sides, etc. The placenta acts like a cushion or pillow, absorbing your baby’s kicks. If your placenta is on the back (in the medical world we call that posterior), then there’s no cushion between your skin and your baby’s kicks so you’ll feel movement much sooner, usually between 16-18 weeks. Conversely, if the placenta is on the front (anterior) and blocking your baby’s kicks it can take much longer to feel your baby move, usually around 20-22 weeks. If your placenta is on one of the sides (lateral) you may feel movement only on the opposite side of the placenta at first. 

The first movements are very small flutters and it can be difficult to know if it’s the baby moving or if it’s just the bowel in your intestines moving. Women often describe it as the sensation of little bubbles popping. The bigger the baby gets the more distinct the movements feel. And just like us, babies go through periods of being awake and being asleep, so they won’t be moving all the time.

Bottom line – everyone’s body is different, everyone’s pregnancy is different, and subsequent pregnancies can be different too. Do not go off of anyone else’s timeline, just your own. When your baby is big enough you will feel the movements, give it time and don’t panic if someone else tells you that you should have felt movement by now. 


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