Weeks into pregnancy:
Your baby will begin to move at around 7 weeks pregnant and while these will be visible on an ultrasound scan you will not feel your baby move for another couple of months. Your baby will be making general movements like bending and startling.
At around 9 weeks your baby may begin to hiccup and move individual limbs like arms and legs. They may also be able to suck and swallow, this will help them prepare for breathing. Although the hiccups will start around now you will not be able to feel them until much later. It is important to remember when you do start to feel hiccups, they do not count as baby ‘moving’.
At 10 weeks your baby can flex and turn his head and bring his hands up to his face. He is also developing finer facial movements like opening and closing his jaw.
By 11 weeks your baby can yawn in the womb…but don’t take it personally!
The baby’s skeleton begins to develop into bone and although you still won’t feel them yet your baby is developing more defined movements.
At 14 weeks your baby can begin to move his eyes, although there won’t be much to look at!
20 to 24 weeks
As the weeks go by, your baby’s activity will gradually increase. It is likely to be around this time that you first notice your baby’s movements. It may feel like flutters at first, also known as quickening. If this is your first baby it can sometimes feel like gas or indigestion. Over the next few weeks it is a good idea to make a note of your baby’s activity pattern, do they kick more in the morning or evening? Do they have spells when they do a lot on movements? This will help you determine if there is a change in your baby’s regular pattern of movement.
24 to 28 weeks
Around this time you may start to notice when your baby gets hiccups. These will feel like regular, rhythmic, jerky movements. These are an involuntary reflex and so do not count as movement. You may begin to notice that your baby responds to outside sounds and jumps at sudden loud noises. You may also notice your baby has a favourite band or sound!
Your baby may begin to follow a pattern for waking and sleeping. Very often this is a different pattern from yours, so when you go to bed at night, the baby may wake up and start kicking.
Your baby will begin to make smaller, more definite movements and the movements may begin to be more noticeable from the outside. This is a great time to get your partner involved as they can sit and calk to your bump and feel the baby kicking. It is a great bonding experience.
Your babies movements will gradually increase week by week until this time when they will plateau but NOT REDUCE. If you notice any reduction in your baby’s movements you should report it. The care you receive will depend on your stage of pregnancy. Your baby will not run out of room and should continue to move up to and during birth.
Your baby can take up his final, usually head-down, position. This is more likely to happen at this stage if this is your first baby. The firm muscles of your uterus and tummy will help to keep him in place. The main movements you are likely to feel now are jabs from his arms and legs, and possibly painful kicks to your ribs.
36 to 40 weeks
Your baby will be getting larger, and won’t be rolling over as often. Instead, you may notice a persistent kick underneath your ribs on one side or the other. ALthough the type of movement will have changed, the frequency should not. You should continue to feel your baby as frequently as before and if you notice any change in your baby’s regular pattern of movement you should report it to your midwife or antenatal ward.