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I Can't Feel My Baby Moving. Should I Worry?

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Updated July 14, 2014

Question: I Can't Feel My Baby Moving. Should I Worry?

Most pregnant women begin to feel their babies' movement sometime between 18 to 25 weeks of pregnancy. First-time moms tend to feel movement later than moms who have given birth in the past. Many moms worry when they are not able to feel their babies move.

Answer:

If you are less than 25 weeks pregnant and have not yet felt movement, most likely this is not the sign of a problem -- especially if it is your first pregnancy. There is a wide variation in the normal time of feeling the baby's movements. If you have been attending prenatal appointments, your physician has been monitoring the development of your pregnancy and should be able to give you some reassurance that things are progressing as they should.

If you have felt your baby move but the movements are not regular, remember that you may not feel the movements regularly until your baby is larger. As the pregnancy progresses, however, you should feel your baby move regularly and a sudden change in the amount of movement may be a warning of problems.

Monitoring Your Baby's Movement

When the pregnancy reaches about 28 weeks, you should be able to recognize some kind of pattern to your baby's movements. It's a good idea to pay attention to your baby's routine so that you can notice decreases in movement. Some physicians advise monitoring the baby's kick counts to detect changes in the baby's routines.

When to Call Your Practitioner

One recommendation is that if you feel your baby is not moving as much as you'd expect, have a snack and then lie down for a while to see if your baby begins moving. If the movements are still decreased, call your practitioner. Different physicians and midwives have different guidelines over exactly when to call. But as a general rule, whenever you're worried and in doubt, the best thing to do is call your doctor. If you're more than 28 weeks pregnant, your doctor may ask you to come in for a test called an NST to make sure that your baby isn't in distress.

You may feel hesitant to call your doctor if your baby's movements are decreased, fearing that you're worrying over nothing. Even though there is a chance that your baby will begin kicking up a storm the instant you arrive at the doctor's office, taking that chance is preferable to sitting at home worrying that something is wrong with your baby. And , if something is wrong, your doctor may be able to intervene.

Source:

American Pregnancy Association, "First Fetal Movement: Quickening" Jul 2007. Accessed 28 Jun 2008.

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