Many arguments exist as to when a woman can first feel her baby move, some say as little as 12 weeks, some say not until after 20 weeks gestation. For the average person assumes it is somewhere in between (who is average?). Well, guess what!? It can be anytime! Every woman’s body is different; some are short, tall, thin, plump and so on. Other women who have experienced baby’s first movements before and know what to expect can feel the baby earlier. All women are different! Placenta placement also has a large role to play in feeling baby move. If the placenta is in the front of the belly, feeling the baby kick will be less until the baby grows bigger. There is no set time for this, so if a woman thinks she is feeling movement, well she probably is and there is no need to discourage her. If a woman does not feel moving by 18-20 weeks there is no need for alarm, if the baby faces toward the spine than movement won’t be felt till the baby is bigger. There are many factors and there is nothing to worry about. If a woman is worried she should call her OB for a doppler or ultrasound check.
First movements are described in all sorts of ways, flutters, taps, slithering, bubbles, gas and so on. There is a difference in gas and a baby moving, if a woman is a first time mom she will be left wondering if “this or that” was the baby, she will know when it’s the baby, and a lot of times it is just a gut instinct, but she will know. The one better way to describe the very first movements felt seems to be lifting ones arm to ones face and batting ones eyelashes against the skin. A soft fluttery motion barely there; but life stirring in the womb just the same. As the weeks pass, even just one or two, the movement will grow stronger and can sometimes even hurt a bit if the baby is kicking or jumping on a woman’s bladder or cervix. (This is why it is a good idea to buy panty liners here and there when they are on sale, as baby grows bigger peeing on oneself becomes common)
At roughly 18 plus weeks, movement can be felt from the outside, 18 is very early for this and earlier is indeed possible but not likely, just keep trying. Once a woman feels movement that is strong she can place her hand gently outside her belly and wait. Often times feeling movement that early is easier if the room is dark or the belly is under a blanket as babies will shy away from light if suddenly exposed. Patience is key as the first strong kicks are sporadic. Eventually as time goes on a woman will begin to visibly see her belly move. This is normal and does not mean fluid is low or anything like that. It is an amazing experience and if possible should be recorded! All in all remember to relish in the moment, even the ones that hurt a little and enjoy every stirring of the new precious life inside the womb.