There are several possible causes of the baby moving like crazy in between contractions, including infection-induced seizures, inadequate oxygen supply, or the baby trying to free itself from the umbilical cord wrapped around some area of the body, especially the neck. One study has also linked this phenomenon to 7 times the risk of stillbirth.
At the onset of labor, the cervix will open, and the contraction of muscles in the uterus will begin at regular intervals.
The uterus will relax in between contractions, and the baby will keep moving and kicking until labor advances, and the kicks will continue during the early labor.
Throughout this process, the feeling of the baby’s kicks assures the mama bear that the baby is doing well.
While a very active fetus is less likely to be worrisome, you should pay attention to movements that are considerably different from what you consider normal.
Why is my baby moving vigorously in between contractions?
If you feel a ramped-up amount of Rockette action in between contractions, here are some reasons why.
1. Your baby is awake
Babies in the womb typically have 40 minutes of sleep cycles of being asleep, awake, and back to sleep again.
You are not asleep during labor. So why should your little one be? But that’s not to mean that your baby will be awake during the entire labor and delivery process.
And if they’re awake, they might give you repeated kicks, possibly during or after a contraction, but their movement will most likely be unchanged as long as there’s an adequate blood supply to the baby.
2. The baby is bored
Who can lie still for 9 months? Sure, you might be super busy with labor and in a lot of pain, but your baby is just hanging out in there looking for something to do.
Those random crazy kicks are also part of the baby’s developing muscle strength and coordination and also a way for them to start showing their personalities.
They get to express their likes, dislikes, acknowledge sound, temperature, or sensation.
So if your hospital room is on the cool side, a swift kick on the rib might be one way of showing displeasure.
3. The baby is in distress
This is a possibility that worries most moms-to-be.
You might panic, thinking that those crazy kicks mean that your baby is in pain or in some distress from the contractions.
While it’s not common, it just might be what’s happening to you at the moment.
Extreme movement and kicks in between contractions can be a sign that the baby is struggling somehow, such as a compressed umbilical cord.
You should let your healthcare provider know if the movements are erratic and not like the usual kicks.
4. The baby is getting ready for birth
If you thought that you were the only one getting ready for labor, think again.
Your little one is also getting in on the big moment by preparing to be born.
While some babies may kick practically in between contractions, some will especially get wriggly during the birth pushing phase as they position their heads ready for birth.
But if you are having Braxton Hicks Contractions, your baby might not kick as much because they are less intense and do not lead to fetal distress or cervical dilation.
Your baby’s response won’t be strong because they aren’t severe.
5. The baby feels and doesn’t like what’s going on
Now, imagine taking an amazingly warm bath for 9 months, all your needs are met, and you’re never hungry and can sleep anytime you want.
Then all of a sudden, someone pulls the plug and drains all the water, and the tub you are in keeps getting smaller and is squeezing you.
You’d probably be upset too, which is why your baby might be giving crazy kicks in between contractions.
It’s equally important to remember that active regular movements and kicks are an essential sign of fetal well-being.
Do babies get more active right before labor?
No. Some women even report that when going into labor, the baby becomes unusually still and that you might not even notice the baby’s movement at all since you’re already uncomfortable.
Is increased fetal movement a sign of distress?
Yes. Increased vigorous fetal movement usually means something is wrong with the baby that can put both mother and child at risk.
It’s best to let your doctor know of this development.
Do all babies go quiet before labor?
The short answer is no.
Babies don’t go silent or stop kicking before labor. Instead, babies move throughout the pregnancy, up to and even during labor.
It’s not normal for your baby’s kicks to slow or stop at any point in the pregnancy.
How long is too long not to feel your baby moving?
Your baby has sleeping and waking periods during the day and night.
A healthy baby’s sleep periods usually last between 20-40 minutes and are never longer than 90 minutes. They typically don’t move during these phases.
It is perfectly normal for babies to have quieter times and times when they’re more active.
Drinking an ice-cold or sugary drink or resting for a while will help you know whether your baby is asleep.
As adults, when we don’t feel well, we tend to rest and don’t feel like doing much. Babies are the same.
If they’re unwell, they’ll conserve energy by reducing their kicks and any rigorous activity.
If your baby is kicking like crazy in between contractions, it’s probably a sign that your little one is wide awake and healthy.
Again, if any of your baby’s kicks are a cause for concern, tell your doctor or midwife immediately.
But for the most part, if you feel those kicks, know that it’s your little one cheering you from the inside until they’re born.