Everything you need to know about fetal movements:
When a woman feels the life growing inside her move for the first time, it is perhaps one of the most special moments she will ever experience during her lifetime. It reassures the mother about the development of the baby inside and creates a special bond between the mother and the child. First-time mothers are naturally not well-versed about these movements known as ‘fetal movements’. Hence, they tend to panic if the baby doesn’t move in a certain pattern. So, for the convenience and awareness of first-time mothers, here are certain facts about fetal movements:
Read: Stage wise development of fetus (0-9 months)
When does the movement generally start?
The movement starts around the seventh or eighth week, as the baby’s umbilical cord develops. He shows that he is reacting to the stimuli around him by making little jerking motions. However, there are chances that the mother won’t feel any of these, since the baby is still very small at this stage and his movements aren’t strong enough to be clearly felt.
Around the 2nd trimester, the baby’s movements are stronger and is more pronounced. However, there is no definite pattern to these movements and are completely random in nature. First-time moms naturally feel these movements a little later compared to mothers who have already given birth, and whose bodies are by now fine-tuned to the baby’s movements and know what to expect. If the mother is busy tending to other infants, she may not sense the movements at all. First-time moms have compared the feeling to butterflies in the stomach, nervous twitches, or tumbling motions.
When do the movements become clearer?
Around week 14-15, the baby’s limbs continue to grow, and now the movements are stronger too, often strong enough to make the mother react. The baby can now feel and react to sounds and external stimuli, and the mother should expect regular and more frequent kicks.
- Babies have their own schedule of wakefulness and sleep, which varies from child to child. Some babies may sleep during the day and kick around at night, others may do exactly the opposite. Studies also show that babies develop their own behavioural patterns inside the mother’s womb. Some are quiet, while others are more
- The baby is sensitive to sound, what the mother eats, and other external factors that come in contact with the belly. The fetus can get familiar with the mother’s voice and distinguish other voices from hers. Hence, mothers should be extremely careful about what they eat, say and touch during this phase.
Also Read: In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Procedure, Preparation & Risks
Should you consult a doctor?
- Some doctors set a calculating limit for how many times the baby kicks. They advise the mother to lie down quietly during a particularly active phase of the baby and count the time it takes to register 10 movements. If in 2 hours, 10 movements are still not felt, it might be advisable to consult the doctor.
- If the baby doesn’t move, there is no reason to panic. The mother should just lie down quietly and rest, since the absence of movement around will raise his curiosity as to why it is so quiet. This further makes the baby move more. She may also drink some water or fruit juice, as the sugar content in the juice will stimulate the baby to move. If the baby still doesn’t move, the doctor should be contacted immediately.
- Around week 36, the movement may slow down a little as the baby grows and crowds the uterus, gearing up for labour. However, there should still be consistent movement throughout the day.
Why the baby moves more at night?
Some mothers are vexed by the fact that their baby moves more at night during the run-up to the labour phase. The American Pediatric Association suggests that this shouldn’t be a major cause for concern. One of the reasons for which the baby is more active during the night is that there little to no activity during those hours, contrary to what happens during the day, and the baby is disturbed by this sudden quiet, and starts to move.
Also Read: Birth Defects – Causes, Solutions, and Cure
What is Baby Drop?
‘Baby drop’ happens during the latter half of the third trimester when the baby moves into the lower section of the mother’s pelvis as it prepares for the final phase before birth. For first-time moms, this might be quite an unfamiliar situation. These are some important facts about ‘baby drop’ that every mother should be aware of:
- After the baby has dropped, the mother will feel a sense of lightness, and will also be able to breathe more freely, since the pressure of the fetus is lifted.
- There may be heartburn in the earlier weeks, but it will go away and her appetite will increase.
- The mother will need to urinate more as the baby is now in the pelvic region and pressing on the urinary bladder.
It is important to remember that during the pregnancy period, an intimate bond develops between the mother and the infant, and the mother should do everything to boost it, for example, touching her belly frequently, playing music or noises that the baby has reacted to in the past etc. She should also refrain from shouting and panicking, as this definitely has an adverse impact on the baby.
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