I am 20 weeks pregnant and I haven’t felt my baby move yet. Does this mean something is wrong?
Even though an ultrasound can detect fetal movement as early as 7 weeks, it will be months before most of us will be able to feel our babies move. Your baby is swimming in a large sac of fluid, and needs to reach a certain size before he will be able to get your attention. Most first-time expectant moms begin to notice the first signs of fetal movement (called quickening) between 18 and 23 weeks of pregnancy. A woman who’s already had a baby may notice movement as early as 16 weeks. The initial flurries of movement may be rather subtle. You may notice a small flutter, a sensation compared to “butterfly wings.” Other descriptions include: “popcorn popping,” a “small nudge in your belly,” and “bubbles in your stomach.”
There are many factors that can influence how early you will be able to feel movement. Thin women have less body fat and tend to notice movement earlier than heavier women. Very active women may not recognize the first tiny flutters of fetal movement, and many women confuse quickening with gastrointestinal pressure. Also, if your placenta is located on the front side of your uterus, it will act as a buffer, and will delay your perception of movement. (You can find out the location of your placenta during your second trimester ultrasound.)
If you have been having regular prenatal care, and your health care provider has identified your baby’s heartbeat at each visit, don’t worry about your baby’s health. While the first episodes of quickening may be hard to discern, your baby’s movements will become more obvious to you as he grows.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.