Baby’s Movement During Pregnancy: What’s Normal?

Baby’s Movement During Pregnancy: What’s Normal?

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Today, I was able to see two pregnant patients who were extremely concerned about their baby’s movements. Patient A was concerned about the baby’s inability to move as fast as normal. Patient B was more worried that their future gymnast would not be moving as well. 

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It is difficult to define what is normal for a baby’s movement in pregnancy. Understanding which movements are normal and when to call your provider might be helpful.



While I’m not a doctor, I am a writer and I don’t really care much about medical terms. But I do love the term “quickening,” which describes the sensation of a baby moving within s/he. These first movements feel like tiny butterflies flying around your uterus (womb). This ripening can happen anywhere from 16-22 weeks into pregnancy. You might feel the sensations more quickly if you’ve had a baby in the past. You may not feel the flutters every day after 24 weeks. Not feel the baby move daily after 24 weeks, notify your provider.


Movement Counts

All of my expectant moms know the importance to track their baby’s movements or kick counts. After 28 weeks, your baby should be moving at least 10 times every two hours, and once per day. While the baby should not move more than 10 times per hour, they should still be active at least two hours per day. A baby who stops moving could be a sign that he or she is in distress. It could be that the baby is tangled up in his cord, or that you have too little amniotic liquid. These complications can lead to serious health problems. If your baby doesn’t move normally, you can drink fruit juice and then rest on your right side for 2 hours. Keep an eye on their activity. If your baby does not move in 10 different ways or gets kicks during that time or for more than two hours, contact your provider immediately.



Every child is unique. Sometimes, it begins in the womb. Many times, I have to worry about patients whose current pregnancy is less active than their previous. The Oder, they might say that their friend’s child moves nonstop, and their baby wiggles after meals. I remind them that they should count the kicks. If there is only one active hour per day, then the baby’s movements will be fine. 

One factor that can influence a mother’s perception of her baby’s movement is the location of their placenta. The placenta attached to the front part of the uterus creates a cushion between the baby and mom. It makes it harder to feel the baby moving regularly. It could also be the reason why a woman feels her baby moving very early in pregnancy and not later in the next.


A mother’s weight can have an impact on her perception of movement. You might not feel the movements as clearly if your body is overweight. Patients who were too heavy and had placentas at the front of the uterus could feel the very little movement during pregnancy. I believe these women are those who make it on the “I didn’t know I was pregnant” television shows. I conducted weekly heartbeat tests (nonstress) to ensure that the baby was healthy.


Weird Motions

The baby hiccupping is a rhythmic movement that occurs every two seconds. It can be disconcerting at times, but this is actually normal development and a good sign that baby has good health.


I often get calls from concerned patients who have babies that move in the morning but are not moving at night. The baby does not follow a specific schedule while in the womb. Remember, a baby should only be active for one hour each day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact same hour every day.


As your pregnancy progresses, and your baby grows, there may be a time when they run out of space. It is possible for the intensity of movements to decrease. Although the baby should still be active they may not be capable of performing their more advanced ninja moves. 

Three months into the third trimester, those sweet flutters once filled your eyes with maternal bliss soon turn into painful 3 AM beatings that bring tears to your eyes for a different reason. There is nothing you can do to stop babies from moving too much.


Each pregnancy is unique and each baby’s movements are different. Don’t compare your pregnancy with others or to that of a coworker in the cubicle. You must realize that your baby’s activity is affected by many factors. Keep in mind that if your baby doesn’t meet their daily activity goals, it is important to contact your provider immediately.

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