Expecting mothers are excited about their baby’s kicks during pregnancy. These kicks start after a particular gestational age and keep reminding you of the life that is growing inside and will soon be in your arms. The kicks also enable fathers to connect with their babies. Moreover, the baby’s kicks indicate the healthy development of your baby. Therefore, most doctors advise you to keep track of these movements to ensure the well-being of the growing baby.
The below post shares some facts about the baby’s kicks and a chart that helps track your baby’s movements.
Interesting Baby Kick Facts
After reading these facts, you cannot but marvel at the miracle called pregnancy.
1. Kicks generally signify normal development and health of a baby
The baby kicks usually indicate that your baby is developing well inside the womb. You can understand that the baby is active when they turn, tumble, roll, and kick inside the womb. Moreover, a swishing feeling or flutter can be experienced in the abdomen when the baby stretches out its limbs. These movements become more distinct towards the later stages of pregnancy.
2. The baby is likely to respond to external stimuli
Babies kick in response to some changes in the surrounding environment. Any external stimuli such as the food you eat or different noises can make the baby move or kick.
•Response to sounds: During the 20th week, the fetus begins to hear low-pitch sounds and gradually begin to high-pitched sounds as the pregnancy proceeds (1). These movements can indicate the normal growth of the baby.
•Response to foods: The food that the mother eats during pregnancy introduces the baby to various flavors through the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby inside the womb. These flavors can make the baby move if they like or dislike them (2).
3. The baby’s kicks increase when lying on the side
You can feel more kicks if you sleep on your side. This is because the supply of blood to the baby increases while lying on the left or right side, thereby improving their movements.
Professor Peter Stone of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, who led a study published in The Journal of Physiology, says (3): “When the mother slept on her back, the baby became less active, which conserves oxygen. We found that the babies were only in an active state when the mother was on her left or right side. When the mother changed position during sleep, for example from left to back sleeping, the baby quickly changed activity state.”
4. Kicks are felt after nine weeks
A feeling of flutter in the abdomen during the early stages of pregnancy is an indication of baby movements. The movements start around the seventh week of pregnancy, which is very early for the expecting mother to feel them. Typically, babies start kicking after nine weeks of gestation as they start moving their limbs (4). The early kicks can be detected during an ultrasound scan. After 24 weeks of gestation, you can feel the baby’s kicks and hiccups quite often.
5. Reduced kicks might indicate the baby’s distress
Once you complete 28 weeks, your doctor advises you to keep a count of the baby’s kicks. A baby, usually, kicks ten times in two hours (5). A reduced fetal activity can indicate fetal distress such as:
•Maternal stress or nutritional problems. Your emotional and physical state impacts the baby’s movements. Similarly, inadequate nutritional supply can lead to improper development of the brain and nervous systems that can reduce the fetal activity. Drink a lot of water or keep walking around if you do not feel the movement of the baby.
•Placental abruption. This is an emergency. Dark bleeding with clots as well as woody hard and tender abdomen.It can restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus, impacting its development.
Premature rupture of the amniotic sac. It can lead to decreased amniotic fluid and slow down the fetal movements due to stress or insufficient supply of oxygen.
•Fetal hypoxia: This condition arises when the umbilical cord gets twisted, kinked or deformed. This cuts the supply of oxygen to the baby.
An ultrasound scan or a non-stress test can help determine the baby’s heartbeat and the reason for reduced fetal movements.
6. Nothing to worry about reduced kicks in late pregnancy
Usually, babies take rest in the womb for 20 to 40 minutes (sometimes up to 90 minutes) at a time. However, as they grow in size, their movements and rolling become difficult in the later stages of pregnancy. Therefore, it is normal for the number of kicks to reduce. However, during this time, you may experience painful kicks under your ribs and jerking that lasts for a few minutes (6).
According to a study, the motor behavior of the baby inside the womb is likely to influence the temperament attributes in the early childhood (7). However, this is not the only criteria for a child’s behavioral development.
These facts have made you feel good, haven’t they? You wouldn’t have imagined your baby could be this active and naughty inside the womb!