I am 24 1/2 weeks pregnant and wonder how often I should feel my baby move, and how strong the movements should be at this stage? I felt a lot of movement a week ago and have noticed it has slowed down a little. The heartbeat has always been on the right side and is now on the left side. Can the baby move to a different spot where the movements are less noticeable or intense?
One of the most exciting things about pregnancy
is feeling your baby
move. This first movement, called "quickening," is usually felt by a mother around 20 weeks gestation. The baby
has been moving long before that time (since about 6 weeks gestation), but the movements were not strong enough to be felt. At first the baby's movements feel like a tapping or fluttering sensation; some mothers even confuse these early movements with having gas! As the baby
grows the fluttering changes to a poking or kicking sensation that is definitely identified as little moving arms and legs. By the end of pregnancy
, you'll be convinced that you have a little soccer player inside your uterus!
It's not uncommon to worry if you don't feel the baby
move for a period of time, but variations in movement are very common and are not usually cause for worry. The frequency of a baby's movements vary from hour to hour, or from day to day. Your ability to feel movement can be influenced by the baby's position, and he or she turns and changes position frequently. If your baby
is facing outward, with arms and legs close to your abdominal wall, you'll easily feel movement; on the other hand, if your baby
is facing inward you'll not notice movement. Changes in position will also determine where the heartbeat is found, for it is most easily heard through your baby's back.
Babies have periods of being awake and asleep in the uterus and that affects whether they are quiet or moving. If you've been active (walking, dancing, rocking, etc.), your own body movement rocks the baby
to sleep and he or she won't be kicking. When you're quiet for a period of time (such as sleeping during the night), that's often when a baby
wakes up, so you may be missing some movement. Your baby
may also be more active right after you've eaten a meal. And babies already have definite personalities, even before they are born. Some are quiet and "laid back" while others are in constant motion.
Although it may not be unusual to feel no movement for a couple days, particularly early in pregnancy
, if 24 hours go by without feeling any movement and you are worrying, call your health care provider's office and stop in to have the baby's heartbeat checked. Almost always things will be just fine, but hearing the heartbeat will reassure you that all is well.