What is Quickening?

By Carrie Bruno

January 21, 2020

Carrie is the founder of The Mama Coach. She is a RN, IBCLC lactation consultant, sleep consultant and mama of two little guys. She leads the North American team of Mama Coaches and is committed to making motherhood easier.

What is Quickening?

What is quickening?

In pregnancy, quickening is when the mama starts to feel those first tiny movements from the baby. Quickening can be felt as early as 13-16 weeks. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel quickening as early as a mama in her second pregnancy–a mama who has experienced quickening before is better able to notice quickening for what it is. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you are feeling the baby or something else, like gas bubbles, but eventually, baby’s movements will become more pattern-like and you will be able to better distinguish them.

Every mama is different, as well as every pregnancy, not feeling quickening until 18-20 weeks is normal. Often the positioning of the placenta can cause quickening to not be felt until later in the pregnancy. If you have been told your placenta is anterior (meaning it is positioned in the front of the uterus), this might be the case when it comes to feeling those first movements. Being heavier set prior to pregnancy can also make it harder to feel baby until a little later on. The time frame for feeling quickening in pregnancy can ultimately range from 13-25 weeks with the average being 17 weeks.

What does quickening feel like?

Often quickening is described as flutters or bubbles. The first tiny movements from baby are just little twinges that can easily be missed if you don’t know what to expect or aren’t paying attention. A first-time mother might even assume those first fetal movements are gas instead of baby. Don’t you worry though, baby’s movements will get stronger and stronger with time, and eventually there will be no denying that what you’re feeling is baby!What is Quickening?

How often can I expect to feel my baby move?

You might feel those first movements from baby one day, and then nothing the next. This is not necessarily a reason to panic during those very early weeks of quickening. When quickening first starts, it is very common to not feel movements every day. This is due to the fact that your baby is still very small, does not weigh much, and is floating around freely in a large amount of amniotic fluid. As the baby grows and has less room to move around (around 24-26 weeks), you will start feeling movements more often and can expect to feel them every day.

Pay attention to the time of day you feel the baby move. Generally, the baby will be less active during the morning and afternoon and become more active at night. Sometimes there are external triggers that will make the baby move as well–like eating or drinking foods high in sugar or containing caffeine, the sound of music or dad’s voice, or gently tapping or pressing on your belly.

Why does baby move around so much?

All of the moving, stretching, rolling, punching and kicking that your baby does in the womb is part of her development and growth! With each movement, she is becoming stronger and preparing herself for life outside the womb. Fetal movement can often be a good indicator of how the baby is doing as well.What is Quickening?

What if I can’t feel my baby moving?

First, remember that not all women begin to feel quickening at the same time. If you have not been able to feel quickening by around 18-20 weeks, it is recommended to let your doctor know so that your doctor can run any necessary tests to be sure all is well with baby and your pregnancy.

Once you have reached 28 weeks of pregnancy, you can also begin counting baby’s movements. It is recommended that you should feel 10 movements within 2 hours. Movements are anything from tiny hiccups and bumps, to strong kicks and rolls. Often laying on your left side, or at least getting into a comfortable position, is helpful for counting movements. Try to count your daily movements at the same time every day. It is normal for your baby’s movement pattern to change toward the end of pregnancy, but if you notice a sudden decrease in baby’s movements, consult with your doctor right away.

More Questions?

Pregnancy is such an exciting and amazing time of life for both you and baby! Pregnancy can also be filled with lots of questions and worries. Education is a great way to prepare yourself for birth and baby, and also to ensure you are doing everything you can to keep your pregnancy healthy. Reach out to your local Mama Coach about our Prenatal Classes and book one today! Also, sign up for our FREE prenatal series, here.

We are here to support you through your pregnancy journey. You’ve got this, mama!

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