In your first pregnancy, you may notice your baby’s early movements as a slight flutter in your belly during the second trimester, typically between weeks 18 to 25. Some mothers describe it as a swooping sensation or like butterflies dancing inside their bellies.
This is the moment when your baby starts kicking and stretching in the womb, creating a whole new realm of connection and intimacy.
As your baby grows into the third trimester, the kicks become more pronounced. You will feel pressure, possibly even near your ribs, and may be able to identify the baby’s head, feet, or even the little legs kicking. These fetal movements are not just fascinating; they are a crucial indicator of the baby’s well-being.
Deciphering Baby Kicks on Both Sides
Feeling kicks on both sides at the same time can be exciting and slightly bewildering. This phenomenon generally occurs in the third trimester when the baby has less room to move. Your baby’s position could be contributing to this sensation. If the baby’s head is down near your belly button, its feet and legs can kick out to your sides. Alternatively, if the baby’s feet are positioned towards your left side, and their hands are moving on the right side, you might feel movements in both areas simultaneously.
But what if you’re feeling kicks on both sides in your second trimester? Well, this could be a sign of a multiple pregnancy, like twins. An ultrasound can confirm this for you.
Understanding Baby Kicking and Movement Pattern
Each baby develops a unique pattern of movements that you will come to recognize. Generally, babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between alertness and sleep. It’s common for babies to kick more in response to certain foods or activities, too.
It’s crucial to notice your baby’s movement pattern. If there’s a decrease or a sudden increase in activity, it could be a sign that something is wrong. However, do not panic; instead, contact your midwife or doctor who can check the baby’s well-being.
Kick Counts and Your Baby’s Wellbeing
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advises that there is no specific number of movements that are considered normal. Instead, understanding what is normal for your baby is crucial. Counting kicks, known as ‘kick counts’, can be a helpful way to monitor your baby’s normal patterns.
In the third trimester, you can begin to track these kick counts. If you notice a significant deviation from the usual pattern – for example, if you haven’t felt your baby move in a while – it’s essential to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Feeling kicks on both sides of your belly, experiencing more kicks than usual, or noticing any significant changes should not be a cause for worry but rather a reason to pay attention. Ultimately, you’re getting to know your baby and their little quirks even before birth.
What are the signs my baby may be in a head-down (cephalic) position?
There are several signs that may indicate your baby is in a head-down position in the womb:
- Feeling regular and strong kicks or movements in your lower abdomen.
- Pressure or a firm sensation at the top of your uterus.
- The hiccups you feel are lower in your belly.
- The rounded and hard shape of the baby’s head can be felt near the pelvic area during a medical examination.
However, only a healthcare provider can accurately determine the baby’s position through palpation or ultrasound.
How often will my baby’s position change?
Babies are known to be quite active and can change their position multiple times throughout the day. In the earlier stages of pregnancy, it’s common for the baby’s position to change frequently. As the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, there may be less room for the baby to move around as freely. By the third trimester, most babies settle into a more consistent position, often head-down. However, it is normal for babies to continue moving and changing positions until the last few weeks of pregnancy.
What if my baby is breech towards my due date?
If your baby is in a breech position (bottom or feet-first) toward your due date, your healthcare provider will monitor the situation closely. In some cases, babies naturally turn to a head-down position as the due date approaches. However, if the baby remains breech, your healthcare provider may discuss options with you, such as attempting to manually turn the baby (external cephalic version) or considering a cesarean section (C-section) for delivery. The final decision will depend on various factors, including your health, the baby’s position, and other individual circumstances.
It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the best course of action if your baby is breech near your due date. They will provide guidance and support to ensure the safest delivery for you and your baby.
Every pregnancy is unique, and the same applies to baby movements. The kicks, jabs, and rolls are your baby’s way of communicating with you, even in the womb. If you are ever in doubt or worried about your baby’s movements or position, never hesitate to contact your midwife or doctor. Early parenthood indeed begins from the time you start noticing your baby’s kicks.
1. Why do I feel kicks on my sides?
Feeling kicks on your sides can be attributed to your baby’s position in the womb. If the baby’s head is down near your belly button, their feet and legs can kick out to your sides. You may also feel kicks on both sides if the baby’s feet are positioned towards one side and their hands are moving on the other side.
2. What mimics pregnancy kicks?
Several conditions can mimic pregnancy kicks, including gas, digestive issues, muscle spasms, and certain conditions related to the uterus or ovaries. Always consult a healthcare provider if you feel movements similar to baby kicks, but pregnancy has been ruled out
3. Where do you feel baby kicks when the baby is head down?
When the baby is head down, you are likely to feel kicks higher up in your abdomen, possibly even near your ribs. The baby’s punches or hand movements may be felt lower down, near your pelvis.
4. Why does the baby kick on one side?
The baby may kick on one side due to their position in the womb. Babies continually move throughout pregnancy, but towards the end, they may settle in a specific position. If the baby’s back is aligned along one side of your belly, the feet, which cause most of the noticeable kicks, could be pointed towards the other side.
5. Can I determine my baby’s position based on the kicks?
While you may get some clues about your baby’s position based on where you feel kicks or movements, it isn’t a foolproof method. Healthcare providers use techniques like palpation or ultrasound to accurately determine the baby’s position.
6. What should I do if the kicks suddenly increase or decrease?
If you notice a significant decrease or a sudden increase in your baby’s movements, it’s essential to contact your healthcare provider. Changes could potentially indicate a problem, but it’s important not to panic, as individual baby movement patterns can vary.
7. Can the location of the kicks help predict if the baby will be right or left-handed?
Currently, there’s no scientific evidence to support that the location of the baby’s kicks in the womb can predict whether the baby will be right or left-handed.
8. How often should I feel my baby move?
Starting around 25-28 weeks, you should feel your baby move several times every hour, but every baby is different. Babies tend to be most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., right as you’re trying to get to sleep. If you’re concerned about your baby’s movement, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
- Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well, NHS
- Baby movements in pregnancy, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Pregnancy – signs and symptoms, Better Health Channel
- Multiple Pregnancy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Kicks Count, American Pregnancy Association
- Fetal Position and Presentation, American Pregnancy Association
- Breech Baby: What You Need to Know, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- The Breech Dilemma: C-Section or Vaginal Birth?, Mayo Clinic