One of the most exciting moments for any expecting mum is when the baby kicks for the first time. These tiny flutters reassure you that your baby is growing and you have a new life inside you.
Ideally, a woman experiences the baby’s first movements, which are often called ‘quickening,’ between 16 weeks and 25 weeks into the pregnancy. However, first-time-mums may only experience these movements well into their 25th week. But if this your second pregnancy, you would feel it as early as the 13th week.
In fact, most mums are likely to experience your baby’s kicks while sitting or in a relaxed position.
We spoke to Dr Indu Taneja, senior consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, to get more insight into the subject. “The first kick of the baby in the womb indicates that he/she is already five months old and is reaching a stage of viability soon,” she explains adding that a baby’s kick indicates much more than growth and development.
Expert Speak: What do baby’s kicks during pregnancy indicate?
Dr Taneja, lists the following 7 things a baby’s kick during pregnancy indicates.
#1 The first kick indicates development and growth
Dr Taneja explains, “The first kick of the baby in the womb indicates her age, growth and her viability.” She adds that it also indicates that the baby is active. Interestingly, when the baby stretches out his/her limbs during the initial phase of pregnancy, you will be able to feel a flutter in your abdomen.
#2 Kicks also indicate the baby’s response to his environment
You will be able to feel your baby’s movements when you make any physical movement yourself. He/she may move or stretch inside the belly as a response to noise to food that you may consume. This is a normal pattern of development for the baby and Dr Taneja adds that it is nothing to worry about.
#3 Increased frequency of kicks while lying on the left side
When the expecting mum rests or lies on the left side of her body, she may experience an increased number of kicks. Dr Taneja explains, “This is because lying on the left side boosts blood supply into the foetus, thereby increasing the baby’s movements.” So while you rest or lie down on the left side and experience a surge in the kicks, don’t be alarmed. The baby is not indicating that it is under any stress, but rather, it is a display of growing energy.
#4 Kicks are also indicative of future behaviour
Your baby’s kicks during pregnancy also indicate his/her behaviour in the future. For instance, babies who are extremely active during the pregnancy indicate that you will have to run off your feet during their early growing years. “Recent studies have also shown that baby’s kick hold the key to his/her brain development,” says Dr Taneja.
#5 Kicks may start almost immediately after you hit nine weeks
While you may experience the kicks anytime between 16 weeks and 25 weeks, know that the normal time is after nine weeks only. So if you experience the flutters before 16 weeks, it is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. After 24 weeks of pregnancy, you will feel the kicks quite often.
#6 Reduced kicking at the end of the pregnancy indicates the baby’s distress
“If the baby’s kick reduces after 28 weeks of pregnancy then you should consult a doctor immediately. Reduced kicks are an indication that the baby may be under some kind of stress,” says Dr Taneja. She adds that if this happens, then you should record the time taken for 10 kicks. “It could also mean that there is reduced or insufficient supply of oxygen to the foetus or a drop in the mother’s sugar levels,” she says.
She suggests that if you are not able to feel any foetal movement then you should have a glass of cold water and take along walk. If the baby does not kick 10 times in two hours, then you should consult a doctor and undergo an ultrasound test. If the doctor detects any problem, you may have to undergo emergency C-section.
#7 Reduced kicks after 36 weeks are no worry
Dr Taneja explains that if your baby’s kicks have reduced after you hit the 36-week mark, then there is absolutely no reason to worry. She says that after this week, your baby will not roll too much inside the womb and you may only experience a kick in your ribs.
“A baby’s kicks in the womb gives the mother happiness and the feeling of worth that she is going to give birth to a new life and so stress about it only when you cannot feel it at all for hours together,” she says.
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