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Feeling Your Baby Move for the First Time

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 By Laura Corrigan

 Every mom-to-be yearns for feeling that little pulse inside her belly, that little kick of hello from your baby inside. It’s such an exciting time for expecting parents (moms and dads) when they first feel the sensation of fetal movement. Gynecologist Suzanne Hall of East Gynecology Obstetrics explains that this stir is medically termed quickening.

Dr. Hall shared what quickening really is.

Though fetal movement can be seen by ultrasound as early as the first trimester, the perceived, physical sensation of fetal movement generally occurs by around the 20th week of the pregnancy. This sensation of fetal movement may vary among women, and among different pregnancies. Some first-time moms may not perceive this movement until up to 22nd-24th week of pregnancy, while others may recognize the sensation of movement as early as 16-18 weeks.

This sensation of early fetal movement has been described as feeling like the fluttering of a butterfly, a tickling, or a light tap. The differences in the timing of your perception of fetal movement may be based fetal/placental location, or the anatomy of your abdominal wall.

The American Pregnancy Organization explained that your baby’s movements of stretching and flexing his/her limbs are within the process of their development. These moments will grow more obvious and feel like kicking or punching as time continues. A baby’s movement can also be a response to noise or emotion; they are in an uncomfortable position, or the result of certain foods you consume that cause them to be more active.

The organization also notes that as you get further along in your pregnancy it is important to keep track of your baby’s movements. At a point in the third trimester, your baby’s movements are likely to occur regularly throughout each day. After week 32, these sensations of movement might decrease because of your baby’s growth within the restricted uterus.

Dr. Hall says that it might be hard to distinguish these movements from a feeling of gas or a hunger pang initially. Once you recognize the sensation as fetal movement, you’ll most likely be reassured and happy with your baby’s activity!

~Suzanne Hall, MD (@drsuzyyhall) is the founder of gynogroupie.com.

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