Feeling your baby move for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget. The first time I felt my son move around, I was only 13 weeks along, which is pretty early. Typically, you should feel your baby move between 16 and 25 weeks of pregnancy. It felt like someone had let a bumble bee loose in my abdomen, and he was bumping into the walls of my belly. As he grew, he started to feel like someone was flicking me. Flicks grew to kicks, which could be seen from the outside. Kicks became rolls as he outgrew his home, turning my belly into a wave machine. Near the end, feeling my son move felt exactly like I had somehow swallowed one of those shiatsu massagers.
Baby kicks are pretty entertaining, but they also are an important part of bonding with your new baby. For a mother, feeling her child move is like a precious secret she has all to herself. Her baby’s movements, unless they are lively enough to be seen from the outside, are only known to her. When my husband felt our son move for the first time, his eyes lit up. He would play a little game with our son, pressing on a spot on my belly and waiting for my son to kick his hand. We saw his personality come out before he was even born!
Keeping track of movement is also a way to make sure your baby is thriving. Near the end of your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife may have you count how many times your baby moves in an hour. Healthy babies move at least 10 times in an hour during a period of activity. Busy babies may move a lot more – I remember counting ten kicks in two minutes one time. He was on a roll! When babies are in distress, they usually stop moving, so it’s important to pay attention to how much your baby moves throughout the day.
If you’re trying to get your baby to move, try drinking a glass of cold water and laying on your side. Sometimes certain foods also trigger movement. My son used to do the hokey pokey every time I ate applesauce! Remember that walking around can lull your baby to sleep, so if you’ve been on your feet a lot and you haven’t noticed much movement, rest for a while before you start to worry.