Kicks, rolls, and other in-utero moves

Finding out that you're pregnant can feel so unreal. After all, when most women first learn that they're pregnant, their baby is no bigger than a sesame seed! So it's little wonder that you don't feel baby's movements at first.

By the 11th to 14th weeks of pregnancy, although you still won't feel any kicks or rolls, your baby - tiny as it is - is already reflexively making tiny little fists and trying out their developing muscles. Over the next few weeks, baby gets busier and actively moves around in the womb. Sorry, though - you're still not likely to feel much!

It's around the 5th month of pregnancy when you'll finally feel a fluttering in your lower abdomen. These first movements are referred to as quickening, an old word that roughly means "showing signs of life." Some women describe these first movements as twitches or tumbles. Some may confuse the movements with hunger pangs.

With each passing week, your baby's muscles develop, and you'll feel more and more distinctive movements. You'll be able to tell an elbow from a foot, the crown of your baby's head from the bump of their bum. And a jerking motion could tell you that your baby has hiccups!

Once your baby's hearing has developed fully - around the 7th month - you'll probably notice lots more rolling, kicking, and shifting of position. That's your baby responding to all the new sounds from inside your body and from the outside world. In the 9th month, you'll likely notice a slow-down in activity. Aside from turns of the head, your baby just doesn't have enough space to roll around anymore!

Some doctors advise women to count their baby's kicks and swishes, both to track a baby's activity levels and to note patterns, changes, or problems. You may find that your baby's movements correspond to your activities, becoming extra-active after you eat or exercise. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to count kicks.

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