How To Avoid Confusion Between Contractions And Baby Kicks

If this is your first pregnancy, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, sometimes, uncomfortable when so much going on inside your belly. Heartburn, gassy stomach, baby movements, false contractions—sometimes, you might get confused what exactly is happening inside.

By the time you are pregnant for the second time, you will be able to identify better whether you felt the baby move or was that a painless contraction. Understanding both the things might help you differentiate between the two.


Baby Movements

Your baby will start to explore themselves and their surroundings by the 16th week of pregnancy. You will feel the movement of your baby’s feet, arms, and head as small kicks and bumps. There will a gradual increase in the intensity of these movements as the fetus will grow in size and the pregnancy will progress.

However, as you will near your due date, they will reduce their activity. You need not worry if you feel lesser kicks than before. It is mainly because towards the term of pregnancy, the baby will have lesser space to move as they would have grown in size. By the 35th week, your baby’s head will engage in your pelvis as a preparation for birth—this will also constrict their movement.


Uterine Contractions

Uterine contractions happen when the uterine muscles contract. These contractions are painless and can start by as early as the 6th week of pregnancy. There is no definite reason for such contractions—experts say this could happen because of an irritated uterus. Surely your uterus won’t let your baby face any difficulties or cause them harm.

Here are some ways in which you can differentiate between uterine contractions and your baby’s kick.


Your baby may kick several times a day—gradually, you will get an idea that these aren’t contractions but your baby’s kicks. Some babies remain still and don’t move for a prolonged period. If you notice that you didn’t feel any kicks for a long time even though your baby is otherwise active let your doctor know about it.

Contractions, on the other hand, are sporadic and less frequent. These early contractions are painless and unpredictable—you could feel them once and they won’t be there for the next few days.


Your baby’s movements are also linked to your physical activeness. If you are a person who keeps moving around and indulges in routine exercising, your baby may sleep for those hours when you are active. You are more likely to feel your baby move when you are taking sleeping or relaxing.

Uterine contraction can occur irrespective of you taking some rest or engaging in exercising—they can happen anytime.


High stress and anxiety can lead to release the adrenalin hormone, which can cause your baby to move and you can feel their kicks more often. Similarly, eating sugary diet can increase the blood sugar levels in your body, providing you energy. This can also make your baby active.

Your contractions are in no way associated with your moods and emotions. To prevent irritation in the uterus, keep yourself hydrated by drinking more fluids.


Mothers who have shared their experiences say that when you feel your baby’s movements, they seem to be isolated and restricted to a single position in the belly. On the contrary, contractions will make your whole belly feel tight—this could last for as long as 30 seconds.

Another mother says that if your baby makes movement and you gently press against that area, the little one stop moving. The same won’t happen when you are feeling contractions.


If you feel anything unusual with the baby’s movements or contractions, there is nothing wrong in contacting your doctor to ensure that your baby is doing fine.