Fetal Movement: Baby’s Health Indicator

Fetal movement is a more active communication between the fetus and mother. Until this happens, the mother has yet to really feel the fact of pregnancy. Once fetal movement begins, she is able to feel intimacy with the fetus. In addition, baby movement is a healthy signal of the fetus.

Novel Story on Baby Movement

fetal movement

So called fetal movement means the fetus is having activities in the belly. At the beginning, it is like the enterogastric peristalsis of the digestive tract, or the itchy feeling of earthworms crawling, or like a small ball floating on water. Not many people can feel this baby movement immediately. Most people begin to feel fetal movement at around 19-20 weeks pregnancy. This is also the mid-pregnancy phase. If the date of the first fetal movement can be recorded, we will be able to know the approximate time of delivery. Generally, people with less subcutaneous fat and experienced pregnant women (i.e., pregnant women who have delivered before) could feel fetal movement in an earlier stage.

Just like adults, the fetus will sleep and awaken in the belly. Probably at 20-40 minute intervals. While awaken, the fetus moves freely in the amniotic fluid, and fetal movement is felt when the fetus is in contact with the uterine wall. The movement is more frequent during night time than during the day, so the opportunity to feel fetal movement is higher at night. In addition, when the fetal head and ass position was turned around, the fetus will have more activities, and the mother will more likely feel baby movement. It is also more likely to feel fetal movement after the mom has eaten something, because the food digestion in the gastrointestinal system will generate sounds. The fetus reacts when hearing these sounds and fetal movement occurs.

Fetal Movement Varies with the Number of Months of Pregnancy

3-7 Months Pregnancy

At first, fetal movement is only to the extent of body twitching, with very weak activity. Beginning from 3 months pregnancy, particularly 10 weeks, hands and legs movement can be felt. At 4 months pregnancy, particularly 15th week, the fetal mouth starts to move. From the 5th month of pregnancy, which is the 16th week, the baby begins to move freely in the amniotic fluid. The feeling of fetal movement is most obvious during the period of 6-7 months pregnancy. The amount of amniotic fluid is the most at this period, therefore the mother can feel a high frequency of fetal movement. Further, as there is space available for movement, the fetus can move freely in the amniotic fluid.

8 Months Pregnancy

At 8 months pregnant, the fetus can move up and down as desired and fetal head may move down. At this moment, the feet would be on top, filling up the mother's lower chest, with muscle development going on well. Very strong fetal movement could be felt. During the 9th month of pregnancy, fetal movement becomes even stronger and active. The feeling of strong fetal movement could have awakened a mother in her sleep in a sudden manner. As the pregnancy due date is approaching, the fetus becomes calm because it has moved down to the pelvis, no longer able to move. However, fetal movement has not disappear, but just reduced. The fetus is getting ready for birth.

Baby Movement and Fetal Health

Baby movements which the mom could feel every hour is known as self-conscious baby movement. The more frequent is self-conscious fetal movement, the healthier is the fetus. When no abnormality is found during midterm pregnancy examination, there is nothing to worry about, even if no fetal movement is being felt. However, if the fetal movement is extremely weak at 30 week pregnancy, it is necessary to go for examination immediately. The fetus might be receiving inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, or the blood quality in the umbilical cord is not good enough, or even fetal death in the uterus can happen.

In case any abnormality is felt, keep calm and touch your abdomen to determine the number of fetal movements within an hour. Fetal movement is more vigorous in the evening, so it is easier to feel at night time than during the day. The intensity of fetal movement has to be compared with normal time too, which is very important. When fetal movements are being felt in an hour, you do not have to worry about it anymore.

The closer the expected date of birth is, fetal movement will be fewer. However, when there is no fetal movement for more than two days, the mother must go for examination. The neck of the fetus might be wrapped by the umbilical cord. If this is being delayed for too long, the fetus will die; hence action must be taken as soon as possible.

So those are the needed information that the mother should know regarding the baby movement.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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