Can There Be Too Much Fetal Movement?

You've probably heard that it's important to pay attention to decreased fetal movement, but you may wonder if it's possible for your baby to move too much. When it comes to your comfort level during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, a very active fetus can make it difficult for you to sleep or even rest comfortably. However, lots of fetal movement is typically not a cause for concern regarding your baby. Even though it's uncomfortable, it's actually a sign that your baby is healthy.

About Fetal Movement During Pregnancy

Some obstetricians and midwives recommend that you pay attention to how much your baby is moving so that you can monitor any decrease in regular activity. Fetuses are typically most active after meals, which can be uncomfortable if you're full or trying to rest. Fetal movement is also easier for you to feel when you're sitting still or lying down, so you're more likely to think that your baby is moving too much if he's keeping you awake when you're trying to fall asleep.

Time Frame for Braxton Hicks Contractions

Most women begin to feel fetal movement between 16 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. If you've previously been pregnant, you might feel movement earlier than you did the first time because once you're familiar with how fetal movement feels, it's easier to distinguish it sooner in the second and subsequent pregnancies. Second-time mothers sometimes feel movement as early as 13 weeks, while first-time mothers might not recognize fetal movement until week 22. If this is your second pregnancy, you might worry that there's too much movement compared to your first pregnancy, simply because you're more aware of it.

Causes for Concern

If you haven't felt any movement by the time your baby is 22 weeks old, you should talk to your care provider. In addition, ask your care provider if you should count the number of kicks you feel your baby make during your third trimester. Most babies move at least 10 times during a two-hour period; if your baby is moving less than that, or if he was moving a lot and the movement decreases, then talk to your care provider about that, too. A change in your baby's usual movement can indicate fetal distress. Usually, fetal distress results in decreased movement, but an increase in violent, frantic movement could also indicate that something is wrong. If your baby's movement patterns change suddenly or drastically, call your doctor or midwife.

Tips for Comfort with Fetal Movement

If your baby is moving so much that you can't rest or relax, try walking around for a few minutes. The rocking motion of your movement can soothe your baby in utero -- just like it will once he's born -- and help him go to sleep so you can rest, too. Avoid caffeine, since it could stimulate your baby to become more active.

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