However, when a woman is certain that she is feeling the fetus move, she may describe the feeling as baby flutters.
These soft initial movements are generally a sign that the pregnancy is going well. As the pregnancy progresses, a doctor may instruct a woman to be aware of the movements that the fetus is making. A sudden or gradual reduction in activity can indicate that the fetus is in distress.
Read on to learn more about baby flutters and what to expect from these movements as the pregnancy progresses.
What are baby flutters?
Baby flutters occur when a pregnant woman feels the movement of the fetus.
For the first 18 to 20 weeks, a woman is not likely to feel any fetal movement. During the early stages of pregnancy, the fetus is not big or strong enough to make noticeable movements.
However, these timelines are relative. A woman who is pregnant for the first time may not feel anything until around 25 weeks, whereas a woman who has had previous pregnancies may recognize baby flutters as early as week 13.
Other factors, such as the position of the placenta, having twins or triplets, and the woman’s body type, may affect when she feels the fetus move for the first time.
For example, a woman with an anterior placenta may notice movement later than a woman with a posterior placenta. A woman carrying more than one fetus may feel movement at an earlier stage of the pregnancy. Petite women may also notice movement sooner.
Baby flutters and movement are good indicators of the developing baby’s health and growth.
In the early weeks of development, a woman will not feel movements at all, but a doctor will see movements when they examine the fetus during routine ultrasounds.
When a woman first feels movements, she should let her doctor know at the next checkup. The first movements are often inconsistent and may come and go.
At 28 weeks, a doctor will typically talk to the woman about counting kicks. By this point in the pregnancy, the movements are usually becoming more consistent.
To do a kick count, a woman should find a similar time each day to relax and focus on the fetus’s movements. Kicks and movements are harder to track while the pregnant woman is active.
A fetus goes through periods of sleeping and being active, just like people. Times when it may be easier to feel movements include:
- after meals
- between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
- after drinking a cold beverage
Being aware of how often the fetus kicks or moves can help a woman sense any change. If the fetus’s typical movements change, this could indicate a problem, so a pregnant woman should speak to a doctor immediately.
Baby flutters are a good sign of the health and vitality of the growing fetus. Baby flutters may start very early, or they may not be noticeable until well after week 20.
Once the fetus’s movements become regular and stronger, they can help a woman monitor the health of the developing baby.
If a pregnant woman has concerns about the fetus’s movements at any time, she should call her doctor or go directly to a medical center for examination.
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