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More than Butterflies: That tingling isn't just nerves anymore! You're feeling your baby move for the first time.
Your pants don't fit. Your shoes are too tight. (Fun fact: many women’s feet grow permanently larger during pregnancy.) You're at that strange place where people who don't know it already aren't able to tell you are pregnant, so you just feel like you look fat. Then you are watching television one night, snacking on something healthy (ice cream, anyone?) when you feel a strange bubbling. It could have been indigestion, but somehow it seems different. Then it dawns on you – that was the baby!
What does it really feel like? The first few times you feel movement, sometimes referred to as quickening, you may be unsure of what you have felt, or pass it off as indigestion. Those early movements are often described as feeling like flutters, bubbles, or popcorn. As you start to feel them more regularly, you'll have a better sense of them and it will become easier to recognize it as your baby moving.
When will you feel it? You may have already. Your baby starts to wiggle around early, as you may have glimpsed on an ultrasound, but those first motions are cushioned by the amniotic fluid, and are too gentle to feel. For a first pregnancy, feeling movement can happen as early as around 14 weeks, but usually becomes apparent around 17 to 23 weeks. If you have an anterior placenta, where the placenta has attached to the front of the uterine wall, the cushioning may mean that you don't feel as much movement, or that you won't feel movement until later in the pregnancy. Some women also have an uterus that points backwards, called a retroverted uterus, which may mean they will show a little later and not feel the baby move as early too.
In the beginning, you may feel your baby one day but not the next. This is normal. As time progresses, you will begin to feel movement with more frequency. You may even notice a pattern in the time of day when your baby is active or calm. Later in pregnancy, your doctor may have you do kick counts, to monitor the movement.
When can others feel it? You'll probably be getting a private show for a few weeks before others can feel the baby kicking from the outside. Somewhere after 23 to 25 weeks, the movements will become stronger and you'll be able to feel – and see! – movement from the outside of your stomach.
It won't be long until you won't be able to keep your baby quiet in there. You may wake in the middle of the night to what feels like a major league soccer game going on in your stomach. Twists and rolls may give you the same sensation as riding a roller coaster. This is your first glimpse into the personality of that little person on the inside. Does your baby want to stay up all night? Is she wigglier when you are playing loud music? Does he start to kick anytime you drink milk? Get to know your little one, and enjoy the miracle you can feel taking place inside you.