Feeling your baby twist, wriggle, punch, kick or hiccup is one of pregnancy’s biggest thrills and it sure beats heartburn, puffy feet and an aching back! There may be no better proof that a brand-new – and impressively energetic – life is developing within you. Most first-time moms feel these first signs of life between 18 and 26 weeks, but for some moms feeling that first flutter or bubble may take a lot longer. Here is why.
Quite simply, you actually may have already felt your baby move but did not recognise it. It’s easy to mistake the fluttering feeling of your baby’s activity for wind passing through your system, especially if this is your first pregnancy. First movements are hard to recognise – they could feel like a flutter, twitch, nudge or even like hunger pangs or slight waves of nausea, making them easy to ignore or mistake.
But as your pregnancy progresses and your baby gets stronger so will his movements and before long, you’ll be able to recognise and feel each little kick and nudge.
Not feeling your baby at this stage may also be influenced by where your placenta is lying. Your placenta could develop on the front wall of your uterus, in front of your baby, closest to your belly button. When it’s in this position, it is called an anterior placenta.
This makes no difference to your baby and his healthy development but the downside for you is that you may not feel your baby’s early kicks and punches. Your baby has to kick “through” the placenta, which acts like padding, for you to feel anything and the baby is still too small to kick hard enough.
Don’t worry, you will feel it, only it will probably be slightly later than someone whose placenta is at the back wall of their uterus (posterior placenta), closest to the spine. Usually by 22-23 weeks, the baby is big enough to kick around the edges of the placenta and that also solves the problem.
Back to front
Another reason you may not be feeling your baby move yet could be blamed on the position your baby is lying in within your uterus. While at this stage your baby’s position will change fairly often, as he still has a lot of space to move around in, it could be that he is lying with his spine up against the front wall of your uterus – against your belly button.
This means that any kicks and punches will be aimed at the back of your uterus and will be a lot more difficult to feel. Not to worry: he will soon shift his position, allowing you to feel his movements better.
Big mama = less feeling
Being overweight can sometimes have an impact on if and when you will feel your baby’s movements, but not always. Some plus-size women do feel their baby moving inside them later on in pregnancy than women with a lower body mass index, but often there are other factors involved, such as an anterior placenta.
For plus-size women, it is not harder to feel baby’s movement. It just is not as harsh on the ribs and back because there is more padding. Being able to see movement from the outside or for anyone else to be able to feel the baby move will definitely take longer for a plus-size mother – the additional layers of adipose tissue will mask any movement until the baby is bigger and stronger.
Sometimes you may not feel your baby move when you are expecting to because you have miscalculated your due date. With scanning technology now able to calculate your baby’s gestational age almost exactly, in the early weeks, getting a “wrong” date is rare.
However, if you have not had a scan and are more than 13 weeks’ pregnant, it can be more difficult to work out exactly how “old” your baby is, as by this stage genetic factors that determine your baby’s size will start to play a role. So you could have a bigger baby and think that you are further along in your pregnancy, and so expect to be feeling some movement already, but you may, in fact, be at a much earlier stage.
If you are worried at all, please contact your nearest clinic or doctor for observation.