Fetal Movement During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Your baby should be doing plenty of kicking in your uterus in the third trimester. If you're concerned your little one isn't moving as much as he should, here's when to worry.


-Patients will say they start to feel the baby move as early as 15 or 16 weeks, but there is plenty of patients who won't feel anything until as late as 24 weeks and that's nothing to worry about. Initially those fetal movements, if you feel a couple kicks a day I'm happy. There won't be such a regular pattern right away, but once you do start to feel that pattern, then you should be aware of that pattern and hope there's reproducibility from one day to the next. The pattern of movement can vary from patient to patient. I would say most patients feel the most movement at night when they're lying down after dinner and then they have no distractions. They're just aware of what's going on in their belly. Most patients will say that's when it's most active and that should sort of be the case from day to day. As you get close to your due date, there really should be more of a reproducible pattern during the day as well. Babies can go through sleep cycles and so you may not feel any movement for 2 hours let's say, but if you're going past 2 to 3 hours and you haven't felt any movement, it is important to check in and make sure you do feel a movement. Stopping what you're doing, having something to eat or drink, lying down, and paying attention is really important to reassure yourself and us that the baby is moving normally. As you get close to your due date, the quality of the movements can definitely change. There's gonna be less room for the baby to move, so the movements may be smaller, but they should be as frequent. One of the things you can do is a kick count. Find a 2-hour window during the day where the baby is most active. And you can actually record how many movements you feel in a 2-hour window. It doesn't matter if it's a big kick. Any squirm can count. And I would say a minimum of 11 movements in 2 hours is normal. And if you're not able to get there, then you should let your doctor know. If you're not feeling good movement at nighttime, rather than go to sleep and check in the morning, call your doctor before you go to bed.

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