Babies in the womb spend most of their time sleeping and growing, but they will move around when awake. This is a normal yet vitally important behavior because movement stimulates muscle growth and development. It also helps to shape and strengthen your baby’s bones while developing the nervous system and maintaining joint flexibility. Low kicks may identify your baby’s current position and, in many cases, are considered normal, but a check-up may be necessary to ease your concerns.
Pregnant mothers will feel their baby’s movements from the second trimester. Yet, very low kicks are a concern to many moms.
Baby kicks are exciting for moms, but your baby’s movements or lack thereof can sometimes cause concern, especially with very low kicks? Let’s find out.
Baby movements during pregnancy
The term for baby movements in the womb is “quickening”.
Babies will normally begin moving in your womb from about 10 weeks, but because your baby is still very small, quickening may often be confused with movements in your digestive system.
But, how often do your bowel movements feel like tingling butterflies in your tummy? Moms who become pregnant for the second or more times find it easier to identify that fuzzy butterfly sensation as their baby saying hello with a kick or a punch.
As mentioned, the baby moves around in your womb to aid development, but each little life will have their own signature movements that oftentimes carries through into their personalities. Moms differ too, and the millions of combinations make for a unique experience for every mom and child.
Interestingly, the second trimester is when nearly all moms feel their baby move for the first time, and it will not be for another two weeks to a month before others will be able to feel your baby’s movements when touching your belly.
The first sensation of your baby quickening depends on a few factors that include:
- Placenta: The position of the placenta in the womb can disguise movements to a degree. If the placenta is “anterior”, it means that it is positioned between your baby and the outside of your belly. This will tend to cushion any movements and may raise concerns for some moms; however, with an ultrasound examination, your doctor will indicate the position of your placenta.
- First or subsequent pregnancy: Moms who have already experienced pregnancy will be able to feel their baby’s first movements a lot sooner than first-time moms.
- Mother’s build and size: Mothers with a fine layer of fat over their belly will feel quickening sooner because the nerves in their skin will pick up the movements within. A mom may smile and say, “I can feel my baby moving, ” but there will be no visible sign to curious onlookers from the outside.
- Positions: There are four basic positions a baby will be in that will determine where you feel movement the most. They are transverse or sideways, which can either be to the left or right, the breech position which is the head up and bottom down position; and the vertex position, which is the head facing down. Low kicks normally mean that your baby is in the breech position.
What promotes quickening?
Babies in the womb go through sleep cycles, with awake periods being brief and are often a response to what mom is doing. However, babies also have a daily routine when they are awake at around the same time each day.
Quickening is influenced by a number of factors that include the following:
- Baby’s position: Babies will move mostly when awake, but you may not feel the usual strong movements because of how your baby is positioned. Movements to the back of your womb will be felt a lot less than movements to the front.
- Your diet: Babies may respond to what you eat, and you will generally feel some movement about 20 minutes after you’ve eaten or had a drink. Sugary treats and caffeine drinks tend to excite movement.
- Activity: Mothers who exercise and are fairly active will notice quickening shortly after an activity.
- Sound: Babies start hearing from about 19 to 26 weeks and will respond to sound. After a baby is born, he or she will respond to already familiar sounds like mom’s or dad’s voice.
- Personality: Some babies will move a lot in the womb while others are less active, but all babies do move around during pregnancy. Baby movements translate to their personalities so moms will have an idea of what to expect from their bundle of joy.
Womb position during pregnancy
Your uterus is situated below your belly button but will slowly shift up to your belly button area at about 20 weeks pregnant. Most of the movements you will feel will be around your belly button area and a little lower depending on how your baby is positioned at that time.
The uterus normally lies in a straight vertical position, but about 20% of women have a tilted uterus that will cause lower back and spinal pain during the first trimester.
The womb will adjust to its correct position in nearly all cases, and pregnancy will continue normally. A tilted uterus is when your uterus lies at a tilted angle towards the back of your pelvis.
Because of the normal position of the uterus and the breech position of your baby, it is common to feel kicks and movements below your belly button.
At times, your baby will stretch, and this movement will feel like a very low kick, but it is normal.
Regardless of what constitutes normal, if you feel very low kicks and are stressed, as a result, a check-up will do no harm. Confirming everything is fine will do both you and your baby the world of good.
When to seek help
Baby movements will steadily increase from week 18 to week 24 weeks and will level off at about week 32.
For the last part of your pregnancy, you should still feel regular daily movements at the same consistent tempo. Contrary to public belief, babies do not move less during this last phase.
If movements stop, slow down, or change, do not wait for the next day. Get medical attention urgently. It may be a false alarm, but your baby’s life may depend on your speedy reaction.
Recording a daily kick count for an hour when your baby is most active is a good way to tell if your baby is fine. Do this in your third trimester every day at about the same time.
If you notice any changes, especially a decrease in movement, it could indicate pregnancy complications, and you should give your doctor an urgent call.
If you experience prolonged pain or notice anything out of the ordinary, it is best to visit your doctor. Your psychological or mental state is also very important during pregnancy. Stress, anxiety, and depression can have a devastating effect on the well-being of your unborn baby.
An unborn baby will benefit greatly from a healthy mom in a healthy home environment that is consistent during and after pregnancy.
Do fewer movements mean the baby is not well?
You should be concerned with fewer movements. Although it might not necessarily mean that your baby is not well, you should still have an urgent check-up.
Each pregnancy is unique, and your baby’s health and well-being of your baby must always be your first priority. Read this article to find out more about baby movements during pregnancy.
How long should I wait to feel the first baby movement?
If there has been no movement by week 24, you should see your doctor for a check-up. It could be the position of your placenta that cushioned your baby’s movements but to be sure, get a check-up.
If I have consistent pain in my pelvic region, what should I do?
See your doctor urgently. There may be complications developing, and your baby could be at risk. It also depends on how far you are in your pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to make a proper diagnosis and take the necessary action.
Baby kicks are a part of pregnancy, and moms will attest to baby kicks being the most rewarding part of pregnancy, second only to the birth of their little one.
Concerns during pregnancy are normal, and most concerns tend to be harmless, but they do serve as an education and a great stress remedy when your doctor smiles and tells you everything is fine.
Regardless of what you hear and read about pregnancy pains, it is always best to get a professional opinion, and your doctor is the best person to help you through the many scares that come with pregnancy.
Low kicks mostly turn out to be normal, but this is no reason to be complacent. As a soon-to-be mom, you should discuss any changes in your baby’s movements with your doctor. If anything, it will alleviate unnecessary stress, which could affect both you and your baby.