Feeling your baby move can be an exciting milestone on your journey to motherhood. Generally, an active baby means a healthy baby – and this is as true for the night as the day. But when exactly does the baby start moving and why do they become night owls? There’s a simple explanation for this, really! Let’s take a look at what your baby’s movements at night could mean.
You Start Noticing Your Baby’s Movement By 18–20 Weeks
On an average, you should be able to feel your baby moving about 18 weeks into your pregnancy. This varies a bit depending on whether you’re a first-time mommy or not, though. If it’s your first pregnancy, it may take about 20 weeks for you to start noticing baby movements. By your second pregnancy, that fluttering feeling in your tummy may kick in as early as the 16th week of pregnancy. But remember, some women may not feel their baby move as strongly as others even when their baby is perfectly healthy. This applies especially if your placenta is located in front of the uterus or you have a large body size.1
Baby movements start as a fluttering sensation, a “butterflies in your stomach” kind of thing. This progresses to a rolling, tumbling, or swishing sensation or even a tiny kick. As your pregnancy advances, your baby’s movements will become more frequent and distinct. The kind of movement you sense will depend on what your baby’s doing and the stage of development. And every baby is unique, so some will be more active than others.
As your baby grows and your skin gets stretched more tightly over your womb, it will be easier to feel the baby kicking, jabbing, or elbowing. Nearer the end of your pregnancy, it may even hurt when your baby kicks your ribs.2
Your Baby May Be More Active At Night
Babies are prone to move more at particular times of the day. If your baby kicks up a storm in the night, it could mean they are more active when you’re asleep. And that means they may also be sleeping more when you’re up and about! Unborn babies generally sleep for about 20 to 40 minutes at a time, and up to 90 minutes in some cases. And when they’re asleep, they tend not to move.
Try to familiarize yourself with your baby’s movement patterns – each baby is different and you may find that your baby tends to be more active in the night or at certain times of the day.
You May Be More Sensitive To Movement At Night
It’s also possible that you just tend to notice your baby’s movements more at night. You’re less likely to feel your baby moving while you’re walking, standing, or busy with other things. And, naturally, it’s easier to notice your baby’s movements while you’re lying down or relaxing.3 4
A Simple Check If Movements Reduce Or You Are Worried
If your baby’s movements reduce or stop suddenly, it could indicate a problem. If you’ve not felt your baby move 24 weeks into your pregnancy or you feel that your baby’s moving less, there’s a simple check that you can do. Support your baby bump with a pillow and lie on your left side. Now pay attention to any sensation that you get from your baby for 2 hours. You should be able to feel at least 10 distinct movements in those 2 hours. If you don’t, speak to your doctor.
Your doctor can check your baby’s movements and heart rate and find out if something’s wrong. It’s also a good idea to get medical help if you notice any unusual changes in your baby’s movement patterns.5