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You probably won't feel your baby move until sometime in your second trimester, usually between 16 and 22 weeks. Even though your baby has been moving around in your womb since 7 or 8 weeks, he wasn't big enough and his movements weren't strong enough for you to notice.
Once you've reached your third trimester, you won't be able to ignore your baby's jabs, rolls, and kicks. As he gets larger, you may see a pointy elbow or knee moving across your belly or feel a full-on somersault.
Every pregnancy is different, so it's hard to say exactly what you'll feel and when, but here's a rough guide.
16 weeks to 19 weeks
You'll probably notice faint and fluttery feelings in your womb around this time. If you've been pregnant before, you'll be more familiar with this sensation and quicker to identify your baby's movements.
If this is your first pregnancy, it may take a bit longer before you realize that those gentle bubbling or popping sensations are actually your baby moving! It may be easier to feel your baby when you're sitting quietly or lying down.
20 weeks to 23 weeks
You may notice gentle kicks and jabs. As the weeks go by, you'll gradually feel stronger and more frequent movements, and you'll come to recognize your baby's unique pattern of activity. If you don't feel your baby moving by 22 weeks, tell your doctor or midwife.
You may find that your baby becomes more lively as the day goes on, kicking, squirming, and somersaulting the most in the evening when you're relaxed. Some moms notice their baby moving a lot right after they eat, especially if they have a sugary treat. But studies haven't found a link between what you eat and your baby's activity level.
24 weeks to 28 weeks
Your amniotic sac now contains up to 26 ounces of fluid. This gives your baby plenty of space to move around freely, so you may feel like your little one is doing elaborate acrobatics routines in your womb. Limb movements may feel punchy, while whole-body movements may be smoother. You may even notice your baby jumping at sudden noises, or you may feel repetitive jerking movements when your baby gets hiccups!
29 weeks to 31 weeks
Your baby is likely to be making smaller, sharper, more definite movements, such as strong kicks and pushes. Now that you're in your third trimester, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you spend some time each day counting your baby's kicks. There are lots of ways to do these "kick counts," so ask for specific instructions.
Here's one common approach: Choose a time of day when your baby tends to be active. (Ideally, you'll want to do the counts at roughly the same time each day.) Sit quietly or lie on your side so you won't get distracted.
Time how long it takes for you to feel 10 distinct movements – kicks, punches, and whole-body movements all count. If you don't feel 10 movements in two hours, stop counting and call your healthcare provider.
32 weeks to 35 weeks
As your baby grows and has less room to move, you may notice that the type of movement you feel changes, perhaps becoming slower but lasting longer. Though your baby's movements may feel different, she shouldn't become less active. You may even feel her more as she gets stronger and more cramped in your uterus.
If she's sucking her thumb and it pops out of her mouth, you may feel her head darting from side to side as she tries to find it again!
36 weeks to 40 weeks
As you approach your due date, your baby will get larger and won't have enough room for dramatic somersaults. After he moves to a head-down position in preparation for birth, you may feel kicks in new places, like underneath your ribs on one side or the other. His movements may feel slower, but also harder and stronger. Jabs from his arms and kicks from his legs may feel uncomfortable or even painful.
It's normal to notice a change in the types of movement you feel in late pregnancy. But you should still be feeling your baby move right up until and even during labor itself.
Pay attention to your baby's pattern of movements so you know what's normal. If you notice that your baby is moving less than usual, call your doctor or midwife.
There will be times when your baby is sleeping and times when he's awake and active. He may liven up in the evenings or when you're lying in bed trying to get some sleep. You may find that he keeps the same pattern of activity after he's born, at least until he learns to tell day from night.