How Soon Can You Feel a Baby Move During Second Pregnancy?
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How Soon Can You Feel a Baby Move During Second Pregnancy?

If you're pregnant for the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth!) time, you'll probably find this article helpful when learning all about when you'll feel your baby move during pregnancy.

One of the best parts of pregnancy is feeling the baby's movement. From tiny flutters to big kicks, it is an absolute joy for most moms to feel their baby move for the first time! If this is your second pregnancy (or third, or fourth, and so on!), you might feel your baby move sooner than your first pregnancy.

Most moms can feel baby movement between 16-22 weeks, but second-time moms might feel movement sooner. Tiny baby movements called "quickening" might be felt a little earlier in the second pregnancy, which can be very exciting for moms-to-be!

Fetal Movement in Second Pregnancy 

Pregnant woman

Are you anxious about feeling baby movements from your second baby? Here's why you might feel your baby kick earlier on in the pregnancy than the first time around.

When to Expect Baby’s Movements in Second Pregnancy

Many pregnant women feel movement sooner during their second pregnancy. You might feel your baby kick as early as 16 weeks, although some moms report feeling their baby moving earlier than this.

It is normal for the first movements to be subtle (making them easy to dismiss as gas or indigestion), and even harder to feel fetal movement if you live a very active lifestyle naturally.

Is it true that second-time moms can feel a baby’s kicks early?

Many second-time moms report feeling fetal movements earlier than their first pregnancy. This isn't always true, and you can still have a healthy pregnancy even if you don't feel the baby until later in the pregnancy.

However, second-time moms might feel those tiny movements earlier on because they already know what to expect from their first time being pregnant. Everything tends to occur earlier in the second pregnancy, including developing a baby bump and feeling early movements earlier on in pregnancy.

Characteristics of Baby’s Movements 

Midwife checks baby heartbeat and movement

The first time you feel the baby moving is incredibly exciting - but what exactly does the baby's kicking feel like early in the pregnancy?

What do baby kicks feel like?

Baby kicks can feel like fluttering, waves, twitches, nudging, gas, or hunger pangs. You might feel movements for just a few seconds, or several minutes. First-time parents might not know how to differentiate those subtle feelings from other bodily functions, but many moms are able to feel their second baby move with confidence.

As the second trimester progresses and your baby grows bigger, your baby's movements will become bigger, stronger, and more recognizable. By the end of the second trimester, you should be able to count movements. By seven months of pregnancy, your baby's kicks should be strong - sometimes they can even be painful!

How often should my baby move in utero?

There is no perfect number of movements that would guarantee that a baby's development is on track, but moms should feel their baby move every day toward the end of the second trimester.

Feeling your baby move is important, and as you approach your due date, your baby's movements might change as they have less space to move around in the womb, and changing positions becomes harder.

By the third trimester, many doctors will encourage moms to do "kick counts" for their babies to track movements if they haven't felt their baby move in a while.

Monitoring Baby’s Movements 

Pregnant Woman Exercising Fitball at Home

Kick counts

Sometimes, especially if you live a very active lifestyle, you might not feel your baby kick often (or you just don't rest long enough to recognize your baby kicking). Your doctor might ask for a "kick count" or record of the number of fetal movements per hour if you're in your third trimester.

Decreased fetal movement

It can be fun to feel when your baby moves, but the baby's pattern of movements might change as the pregnancy progresses. When there is a large decrease in fetal movements, especially in the third trimester, it might be time to get checked by the doctor.

What to do if baby’s movements are reduced or changed

If you feel like you haven't felt your baby move in a while, or feel a change in their normal pattern of movements, and you are in the third trimester, reach out to your healthcare provider. Depending on what pregnancy week you are in, you might be encouraged to get checked out at the hospital.

During the second trimester, it can be hard to feel when your baby moves sometimes, and their movements probably won't develop a pattern until later in the pregnancy. Lack of regular movement typically isn't a cause for concern until the third trimester, when most movements are coordinated and easily observed.

Feeling Baby Move from the Outside

When can you feel baby kick from the outside?

Many women feel their baby moves around 20 weeks of pregnancy, although some feel it sooner. Feeling movement can be closely tied to the placenta's location in relation to the uterus.

Early kicks and punches can be easily confused with other bodily processes, like gas bubbles, stomach cramps, or hunger pangs.

Factors for when other people can feel the baby move

It is an amazing feeling, to notice life moving inside your body. You might want to share that excitement with others, but it can be tricky for other people to feel the baby move too!

Certain factors might influence when other people can notice your baby's movement. Maternal weight might make it harder to feel the baby move. The location of the placenta in relation to the uterus can also impact when other people can feel the baby move. An anterior placenta is one reason why some moms-to-be, and their loved ones, might feel baby movement later. The baby's position can also influence when others can feel the new little life moving in your belly.

Quickening and Beyond 

Pregnant Woman Touching Belly Showing Hand Heart Symbol

What is quickening in pregnancy?

Quickening refers to the first time pregnant women feel their babies move, although babies move in the uterus long before you can detect any movement. Fetal movement refers to the overall movement of the baby in the womb, including what they're doing before you can detect those sensations inside your body.

What does quickening feel like?

Quickening can feel like pulsing, tapping, fluttering, or a gas bubble popping. As the pregnancy progresses, the baby's movement will become stronger and less easily confused with other bodily processes.

When do babies start kicking?

After quickening, your baby's first movements, you will notice your baby's movements get stronger and more frequent as the pregnancy progresses. Around 28 weeks, most women should be able to feel at least 10 movements every two hours.

Late Pregnancy and Labor

Baby’s movement right before labor

When the baby drops to a head-down position in the pelvis, the baby's movement patterns might change. You might feel your baby's head strongly for the first time as you experience pressure in the pelvis. Your baby might become less active at the end of pregnancy, but you should still be able to feel them moving every day, and be able to do kick counts when you're concerned about lack of movement.

What does a super active baby in the womb mean?

A super active baby in the womb doesn't necessarily mean they'll be an overly active child. An active baby can be just as healthy as a baby whose movements are more subtle. Baby kicks are a normal part of fetal growth and development, and is a way to strengthen their bones and muscles.

If you notice a sudden increase in kicks in the third trimester, or a sudden lack of movement, check in with your healthcare provider to see if you need a quick checkup to make sure the baby is growing properly.

Fetal movement can vary during second pregnancies.

With your first baby, it might be hard to recognize those first movements and flutters inside the womb, but second-time moms are often able to feel the baby moving sooner. Feeling your baby's tiny kicks and punches can be such an exciting part of pregnancy, and something that you might experience sooner if it isn't your first pregnancy. 

Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez

I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.

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