Most women begin to feel their baby move around the beginning of the second month of the second trimester–when they are 16 weeks pregnant to 22 weeks pregnant.
Women who have been pregnant before usually recognize the sensations earlier than women who are pregnant for the first time.
You will find that your baby will be more active at some times than other.
Typically the times you feel your baby being most active are the times that the baby is awake and you are sitting quietly.
When you are moving around and paying attention to other things, you are less likely to feel the baby moving, and your movements may actually lull the baby to sleep.
If you consume a food or beverage that contains sugar, you may also notice increased activity in your baby; in fact, when health care providers need to get a baby away and moving, they often have mom drink a sugary drink! (Don’t just drink a sugary beverage to get your baby moving though—you should be concentrating on healthy beverages, like milk and water, and only the occasional glass of juice.)
The amount of movement you notice will vary from day to day, growing stronger and more noticeable towards the end of the second trimester. The level of fetal movement varies from baby to baby.
As long as your baby’s pattern of movement is reasonably consistent toward the end of the second trimester, you do not need to worry if your baby’s movements are different from what you experienced in a previous pregnancy, or from what your other pregnant friends are experiencing.
Once your baby has established a pattern of movement regularly, let your health care practitioner know if you notice a difference. A change in your baby’s pattern of movement could indicate a problem.
Call your health care provider if you notice anything that seems out of the ordinary: too few kicks, a dramatic increase in kicking, etc.
Tracking fetal movement, also known as kick counts, is one way to monitor your baby health. Some women are instructed to do this by their health care practitioner, while others do it just to reassure themselves.
To perform kick counts, pick a time each day when your baby is usually active. For best results, perform kick counts at the same time each day.
You’ll want to turn off the television and your telephone, so you can concentrate on your baby’s movements. Sit quietly, or lie on your left side. Begin counting any fetal movement, and stop when you get to 10. Make a note of how long it took.
It should take about the same amount of time each day. If you go for more than 2 hours without counting 10 movements, call your health care practitioner right away.