When should my baby start kicking during pregnancy?

While an ultrasound can identify foetal movement as early as seven to eight weeks of pregnancy, women generally don’t begin to feel the baby move until sometime between 16 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, or even later if it’s your first pregnancy. Veteran moms tend to feel movement sooner and according to, thinner moms-to-be may also feel movement earlier.

ALSO SEE: 5 interesting facts you may not have known about baby’s first kicks

Kicking during pregnancy – when should I be concerned?

If you have not felt your baby kicking by 24 weeks, irrespective of whether it is your first or second or third child (or more), follow up with your health care practitioner.

Initially, babies have rolling movements. This might feel like “bubbles popping” or gas trapped in the stomach. Sensation of foetal movement by the mother is felt earlier by women who had babies before.

It could be due to the fact they recognise the previous sensation earlier. After 20 weeks, the baby will start with real kicking and hiccupping. Babies also have sleep cycles and at times will have a snooze when you are going for your ultrasound assessment. If you are concerned by the movement or kicking of your baby, choose an hour in the day when you can sit still and count foetal movements. We would like your baby to move four times in an hour. Be it that the movements are fewer than four, count for another hour. If still fewer than four, go to your health care practitioner. Foetal kick charts may be used to monitor your progress.

ALSO SEE: 5 facts you need to know about baby’s first kicks.

More about the expert:

Dr Potgieter is a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician based at Netcare Parklane Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied multiple aspects of his field for over a decade, and finished with degrees in Nursing and Medicine before specialising in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Dr. Potgieter also completed qualifications in Endoscopic Gynaecological Surgery and Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery through the European Academy of Gynaecological Surgery. Learn more about Dr Potgieter here.

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