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What is Quickening?

What is Quickening?

Pregnancy
Jan 27, 2018

For many women, the most exciting time in pregnancy is feeling those first flutters of movement! Those early brushes and bumps are called quickening. You may have seen your baby on ultrasound, you may have heard your baby on doppler, but feeling your baby for the first time can be emotional. It cements the connection. You’re having a baby!

Typically, fetal movements can be felt by the mother as early as 13 weeks, but some women won’t get those ‘butterfly or gas bubble’ feelings until closer to 25 weeks. Some won’t feel these early movements at all, because they associate the sensations to gas or hunger pangs. They notice, however; when there’s that distinctive first kick! It’s an unforgettable feeling, but it can be rather startling, because, hey, there’s something moving around inside your body!

Early on you may notice patterns to when movement is most likely to occur. You may notice more fetal movement right after you've eaten, or you’ll notice more movement during the night. However, if your placenta is anterior, meaning it’s in front of the baby, this might cushion your baby's kicks and make them more difficult to notice until later in your pregnancy.

As your pregnancy progresses, your doctor or midwife will likely suggest that you track those movements. A ‘kick count chart’ is especially useful if your pregnancy is high-risk, or you’ve noticed a change in how and when your baby moves. Tracking fetal movement can be a way to ease your anxiety. We suggest finding a good phone app to track these movements, as it's so much easier than a writing on a piece of a paper!

Just remember, everyone feels things differently and each pregnancy is unique. Some babies will move a lot while others are just naturally mellow. If you are ever concerned with lack of movement, or changes in the frequency or duration of movement, always follow up with your healthcare provider. A simple non-stress test, monitoring your baby by electronic monitor, may be called for to determine what, if anything, is a concern.

We encourage you to learn more about our "What in the World" series. Please see our A to Z index for a whole host of pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting information and terminology.


Loree Siermachesky works as a multi-certified labour and postpartum doula, certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified car seat technician in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. She has had the honour of attending over 1400 births in the last 20 years. She is well-known and greatly respected by the medical providers in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Taber, and Calgary. She cares deeply for this profession and even more for her clientele, honoring them in whatever method of birth they choose, or helping them transition to new parenthood as they wish.