Your Baby's Movements

NHS

You should start to feel your baby move between around 16 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. If this is your first baby, you might not feel movements until after 20 weeks. If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, tell your midwife. They'll check your baby's heartbeat and movements.

You should feel your baby move right up to and during labour. Other people cannot feel your baby move as early as you can. When they can feel the movements, by putting a hand on your bump, is different for everyone.

What your baby's movements feel like

The movements can feel like a gentle swirling or fluttering. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel kicks and jerky movements.

Call your midwife or maternity unit immediately if:

  • your baby is moving less than usual
  • you cannot feel your baby moving anymore
  • there is a change to your baby's usual pattern of movements

They'll need to check your baby's movements and heartbeat. Do not wait until the next day – call immediately, even if it's the middle of the night.

How often should your baby move?

There's no set number of movements you should feel each day – every baby is different. You do not need to count the number of kicks or movements you feel each day. The important thing is to get to know your baby's usual movements from day to day.

Important

Do not use a home doppler (heartbeat listening kit) to try to check the baby's heartbeat yourself. This is not a reliable way to check your baby's health. Even if you hear a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.

Why your baby's movements are important

If your baby is not well, they will not be as active as usual. This means less movement can be a sign of infection or another problem.

The sooner this is found out the better, so you and your baby can be given the right treatment and care. This could save your baby's life.

Can your baby move too much

It's not likely your baby can move too much. The important thing is to be aware of your baby's usual pattern of movements. Any changes to this pattern of movements should be checked by a midwife or doctor.

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