during pregnancy

When Do You Start to Feel the Baby Move?

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One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is the first time you feel your baby move. It can come out of nowhere, and a lot of women don’t even realize what they’re feeling is fetal movement! But that first little flip can be the moment your pregnancy starts feeling real. But the question is, when do you start to feel the baby move? That really depends!

Every woman will feel her baby move for the first time at different points in their pregnancy.

There is no one right answer here! Your baby’s first movements are called “quickening”. And you may feel them as early as 13 weeks, right at the end of your first trimester. However, you may not feel them until well into your second trimester! Quickening will feel less like kicks, and more like flutters. Which is why some women don’t even realize they’re feeling the baby move. It feels almost like gas or a bubble at first, and we all know how common those are during pregnancy.

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By your second or third trimester, those little flutters will begin to feel more distinct. You may feel the jab of an elbow, or a tiny foot pushing against your belly. As the baby grows and runs out of room, those movements are going to become really noticeable. It’s not uncommon to be able to see your baby move around inside! Some women can even see distinct little feet or hands from the outside.

If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel the baby move until later.

First-time moms likely won’t be able to actually feel quickening until around 18-20 weeks. Second- and third-time moms will usually be able to feel it much earlier, since they’re aware of the sensation and know what to expect.

As you get further along, you’ll also start to notice a pattern. Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day, as they go from wakefulness to sleep. But don’t expect their schedule to mirror yours! Fetal movement tends to increase between 9 p.m. – 1 a.m., just as you’re trying to get to sleep. According to WebMD, this uptick in movement is due to your blood sugar levels changing. But your baby may also respond to certain sounds or positions!

So when do you start to feel the baby move? If this is your first pregnancy, don’t be surprised if you don’t feel it until you’re in your second trimester! You’ll be feeling them nonstop soon enough.

(Image: iStock / Wavebreakmedia)