Among the many "firsts" throughout your pregnancy, feeling your baby kick for the first time might be the most, uh, startling. That's partly because it's surprisingly difficult to predict when those movements will start happening. (And, well, partly because there's a creature moving around inside your body.)
As the American Pregnancy Association explains, there's a wide window for what's normal. Some people are able to feel their baby's first movements (a.k.a. "quickening") as early as 13 weeks, while others don't get those tummy kicks until as late as 25 weeks. Basically anytime within that range could be considered "normal."
If this is your first pregnancy, it's more likely that you'll be on the later side, partly because you might not realize quite as quickly what those strange movements are. After that, though, you'll have a better idea of what you're feeling for and will probably notice them earlier in subsequent pregnancies.
Early on, the movements will feel more like little flutters (you might even confuse them with gas or your stomach growling) and then, later in your pregnancy, they'll be more like small kicks and jabs. And you might notice more fetal movement right after you've eaten, thanks to the rise in glucose in your blood, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. You'll also probably notice your baby gets more active as the day goes on and tends to be most active late at night (lol). At that point in the day, you'll also be more relaxed and able to tune into the movements, so you might just be noticing them more than you would during the day.
However, if your placenta is in front of the fetus (meaning it's "anterior"), that might cushion your baby's kicks and make them more difficult to notice until later in your pregnancy. Research suggests that's especially likely to affect your second trimester, where you'll likely feel fewer movements than you would if your placenta was positioned elsewhere.
As your pregnancy progresses, it may become important to actually keep track of those movements rather than just enjoying the weird feeling whenever it pops up. Especially if your pregnancy is high-risk, tracking movement can be help ease your anxiety — if she's kicking at about her average rate, you know she's probably doing just fine — and if you note a decrease, it's a good idea to get things checked out. That's why your doctor might ask you to start doing fetal movement counts or "kick counts," explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist.
Wherever you are in pregnancy, keep in mind that everyone's pregnancy is different, and some babies just naturally move less (or far more) than others. Others might go a day without moving much while spending hours and hours the next day kicking. As always, if you're concerned, it's best to chat with your doctor. She can perform other tests to get a better sense of what's going on in there.
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