If you are pregnant, particularly for the first time, you are probably excited and paradoxically anxious at the same time about all things relating to baby.
Feeling the baby move inside is probably one of the things that are causing both anticipation and anxiety: when will it happen, why has it not happened yet, and what does it mean? The first perceivable movement of a baby in the womb is also known as ‘Quickening’. Quickening is defined as reaching the stage of pregnancy at which the child shows signs of life.
When can you first expect to feel baby move?
As you probably know every pregnancy can be vastly different, even when it is the same woman who is experiencing it. So while in some pregnancies, the mother may feel the baby move quite early on; even as early as 14 weeks, in most cases the movement will be perceived about halfway through pregnancy; or at about 18 to 20 weeks gestation.
For first time mothers, the feeling will be perceived somewhat later than mothers who are pregnant for the second time (or more). First time mothers rarely feel the baby move before 18 or 20 weeks. This is because women who have given birth previously will have much more relaxed uterine muscles and also may be able to perceive fetal movement more clearly because they know what to expect and what it feels like.
What does quickening feel like?
It can feel like a light tapping or fluttering. Lots of women describe it as the beating of a butterfly’s wings in the early stages. But in a lot of cases, it could be that the first movement gets mistaken for gas or hunger pangs!
Later the fluttering will become stronger and more palpable and the baby kicking and elbowing and moving can then become quite uncomfortable as well. It can keep the mother up at night and prevent a good night’s sleep; an elbow under the ribs may be painful, while a moving keen under the abdominal skin could actually be seen!
Why can’t you feel it yet? Is there something wrong?
Pregnant women are apt to rush to the conclusion that something is terribly wrong, if what they experience doesn’t tally with what the pregnancy books say.
Remember not only that each pregnancy is different from the other, but also that the first movements may be quite imperceptible. However if you’re worried, it is best to have a consultation with the doctor so that all the worries can be put to rest.