What is Baby Movement or Quickening?

Dr. Alison MacInnes, MD, discusses baby movement or quickening.

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Dr. Alison MacInnes, MD, discusses baby movement or quickening.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Nardia Strydom, MD

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

So fetal movement - or it's termed quickening - is usually felt by most people at around 18, 20, up to 22 weeks.

Sometimes with second pregnancies women can feel it a lot sooner, they know what to expect. Some women record even feeling it as early as 15 weeks. Most people feel fetal movement by about 22 weeks in pregnancy, right.

So baby movement is a question that is asked of every pregnant women at their appointments, and it's something that most healthcare providers speak to with their, or speak about with their patients. So it becomes important actually later on in pregnancy.

If fetal movement goes down or decreases, compared to what the pregnant woman is used to feeling, so sometimes it's significant, sometimes not. Babies sleep, some babies don't move as much as others.

However, if the mother notices that the baby is moving a lot less, or it's different than what's normal she absolutely needs to tell her healthcare provider.

So late in pregnancy one of the concerns is that the placenta may not be working as well as it should be. There are certain medical conditions that put women at risk for having placental difficulties, and these women are advised to actually do fetal counts starting at about 28 weeks onwards.

So what we expect is that the mother can feel the baby move at least 6-10 times in two hours. If she doesn't feel this this number of movements she should definitely contact her healthcare provider. Other women are just recommended to do fetal counts on the days where they think 'oh is the baby moving as much as normal?', sometimes they're busy and don't really feel it.

So it's recommended that they lie down quietly and actually count the movements, and most people find that the baby is moving more than they think it is. But definitely it's a really important thing to report to your healthcare provider, should the movement not be as much as normal.

If someone has questions about fetal movement or fetal movement counting they should definitely speak with their healthcare provider.

Presenter: Dr. Alison MacInnes, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.