Your baby can't actually hurt you with his punches and kicks, but there are natural ways you can try to minimize his punches.

Q. My baby is kicking so hard that it hurts! Can my baby damage my body?

A. Your little gymnast is reveling in those new muscles now that he has some control over them. He doesn't have a ball to play with; he's got to entertain himself somehow. No matter how great the pain, it's very unlikely that his kickboxing could do any damage to you beyond a bruised rib. The pain may feel especially weird and intense if this is your first pregnancy, but it's not dangerous.

To get your baby to punch a little less, try eating different foods and tracking what causes him to bounce around. You can also tell your tiny stepdancer a story, sing a song, or rub your belly to distract and soothe her; or shift positions so that the kicks aren't always in one (increasingly tender) place.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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