Feeling baby move for the fist time is one of the most magical parts of pregnancy. However, it may be different than you imagined. Baby may feel like soft tickles, or flutters. Movement will likely be mostly in your lower abdomen early only, but that will change as baby grows. Let’s discuss what you need to know about fetal movement in your second trimester.
Before we get going — how do I know so much about fetal movement?
Hello! I’m Hilary, I’m the nurse here at The Pregnancy Nurse. I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of labor and delivery experience. I have spent countless hours talking to patients about fetal movement in the hospital and I am excited to give you some good advice on this one today!
Why do I feel baby movement in my lower abdomen at 20 weeks?
At 20 weeks your uterus is probably still below your belly button, which is why you feel all the fetal movement in that area. As you progress in your pregnancy, fetal movement will increase and start to extend through your whole abdomen.
However, fetal movement is complicated, and you should learn more about what is important to feel, so let’s keep talking about it.
And, quick reminder that 20 weeks is the perfect spot to find your prenatal class. I recommend this one because it’s fast, fun and easy to do!
Fun fact: If you measure from your pubic bone, to the top of the uterus with a tape measure, that number is roughly how many weeks you are (measuring in centimeters).
What position should I feel my baby move at 20 weeks?
If you’re wanting to feel baby move more, I recommend laying down after a meal and seeing if you feel anything.
The movements will be so small it can be hard to feel them when you’re going about your day and moving around. So, laying down and concentrating for a bit can have good results. I sometimes think laying on your back is easiest, but make sure you are comfortable.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to feel baby every time you do this. They’re still small, and it’s hard!
What Is “Quickening” in Pregnancy?
It’s kind of a weird word for it — but it’s those early movements you feel from baby. People say that baby movement feels like “flutters” or really light touches at this point (sometimes even gas bubbles).
Most people don’t use the word quickening anymore, but it’s fun to know that this stage of pregnancy has been magical through the ages.
Oh, and grab my safe eating tips while you’re here:
How Early Can You Feel Your Baby Move?
This really depends on a few things:
- Where your placenta is located (people with their placenta on the front — or anterior– wall of the uterus often don’t feel as much fetal movement)
- How baby is laying
- Baby’s movement routines (some babies simply move more than others)
- How attune you are to it (it’s easier on your second baby because you know what to look for)
- Your abdomen, and just how you feel things there
Most people feel it sometime in their second trimester, usually between 16-22 weeks, but everyone is different. Make sure that you keep going to your prenatal check-ups to make sure baby is doing well.
Even when you do feel it, it may be a few days before you feel it again. Until your third trimester there won’t be much of a pattern or a routine to it.
Is it normal to feel baby movement in lower abdomen?
Yes, totally normal. That’s where your baby is this early. As your baby grows and the uterus expands with them, the kicks will get higher — and don’t worry, your little one will be reaching your ribs and lungs in no time. #magical
Why do I feel my baby moving in my pubic area?
That’s just where they are, and often where their feet are to kick. You may feel them kicking your pelvic floor pretty frequently, and that’s normal (but often annoying). Baby may even kick directly on the cervix which can feel weird too.
What happens if baby movements slow down?
If you’re still before your third trimester they don’t recommend you do kick counts. Because of how big baby is and how they shift and turn it just isn’t as easy for moms to feel them consistantly.
However, if you feel movement had a consistant movement pattern, but that has stopped or changed you can always reach out to your provider.
Does the baby’s kicking in the lower abdomen hurt?
Not normally. Sometimes they’ll kick your cervix or your bladder and you’ll think “woah!” but in most cases it’s more surprising than it is painful.
What if I don’t feel baby kicks?
This can be super frustrating, I get that. Here are 3 things to remember:
- Some people talk about this crazy fetal movement they’re feeling so early on and I often wonder if they actually are feeling it that much. Fetal movement this early on is entirely self-reported, so who knows?
- Around this stage you will be having your main ultrasound. At that point you may find out where your placenta is (and that is often the culprit of not feeling baby as much). You’ll also find out how baby is moving and growing and that can be really re-assuring
- Often feeling baby move more comes with time. Soon you may even be annoyed or frustrated with how much they are moving, so try to enjoy each stage as it comes.
And of course, any questions about your baby or how it is progressing do talk with your doctor or midwife so they can base it off your needs and circumstances.
When will I start to feel my baby kicking or moving?
Most often people feel baby kicks between 16-22’ish weeks. It really depends.
Is there a ‘normal’ amount of baby movement?
For your baby, yes. Compared to all babies, no.
And, every pregnancy is different — so just because you felt movement a lot with your first baby, some pregnant women feel it entirely different on their second+ pregnancy. Also, you are likely remembering it mostly towards the end of that pregnancy, which will be very different than it is at about 20 weeks.
Is Reduced Fetal Movement Important?
As you get further into your pregnancy, fetal movement is SO important, and being aware of when it is different for your baby.
However, at 20 weeks it’s just something to be aware of and see when you start to see patterns in their movement. It just likely won’t be consistent until you get closer to your third trimester (28 weeks of pregnancy).
Feeling your baby move can be really exciting, but also frustrating if you want to feel it more often. Just know that things change pretty frequently as your baby grows and should try to enjoy what’s going on right now in pregnancy (because it will probably be different next week).
And like I said before, today is the best day get started on that prenatal class. The Online Prenatal Class for Couples will take you from nervous to prepared with your partner in just a few hours.
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, or want to see if we’re a good fit? Check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.