How active should a baby be at various stages of pregnancy?
Should I be worried if my baby doesn't move a lot?
The expert answers
Fetal movement (quickening) is initially perceived as movements of the uterus. As the baby bumps into the uterine wall, it moves, creating the first sensations of fetal movement. As time goes by and Baby gets larger and stronger, kicks and punches can easily be felt.
Quickening is perceived much earlier in subsequent pregnancies, most likely due to experience. For first-time moms, the first movements may be overlooked or explained away by growing pains or a gas bubble. For subsequent pregnancies, quickening can begin as early as 15 or 16 weeks, while with first pregnancies, 19 weeks is the average.
During the second trimester, the baby's movements are more easily detectable. By 28 weeks, daily movement should be expected. In late gestations, typically 35 weeks and beyond, kick counts are performed daily to assess fetal activity as a sign of well being. In the evening after dinner, the baby's movements are closely monitored for one hour. At least six to 10 movements should be counted during that hour. If not, a sugary food or drink should be consumed and the count continued for an additional hour.
Babies go through short sleep cycles, ranging from 45 to
90 minutes, and sugar can help "jump start" them into moving. If after two hours the six to 10 movements have not been counted,
the physician should be notified. Most likely, a trip to the
office or hospital for monitoring will be recommended.