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What Causes a Gliding Sensation in the Uterus during Pregnancy?

author image Brenna Davis
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.
What Causes a Gliding Sensation in the Uterus during Pregnancy?
Many women experience movement, fluttering and gliding in the uterus while pregnant. Photo Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Pregnancy causes many rapid changes in a woman's body, particularly in the uterus. Before pregnancy, it's unlikely that you feel or notice your uterus, but during pregnancy most women become acutely aware of this rapidly stretching organ. A gliding sensation in the uterus is not typically cause for concern, and can be caused by many normal developments during pregnancy. If you feel pain, notice spotting or suddenly develop symptoms, consult your doctor.

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Round Ligament Pain

Round ligament pain is common during the first trimester. The sensations might change throughout the day and can range from a fluttering or gliding sensation to muscular pain, according to pediatrician William Sears in his book "The Pregnancy Book." The ligaments that hold your uterus in place must stretch substantially, and much preliminary stretching occurs during the first trimester. The sensations from the ligaments stretching might radiate into the uterus or outward into other areas of the body such as the stomach, hips and lower back.

Fetal Movement

The developing movements of a fetus, commonly referred to as quickening, typically begin between weeks 16 and 25 of a pregnancy. Early movements are typically faint, and can feel like fluttering or gliding in the uterus. As your pregnancy progresses, the movements will become more pronounced and may feel like your baby is kicking you. If fetal movement suddenly stops or slows dramatically, consult your doctor. While fetal movement is unpredictable and is not strongly correlated with pregnancy health, less fetal movement sometimes indicates a problem, according to Sears.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

According to the textbook "Biology: Life On Earth with Physiology," Braxton Hicks contractions occur as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, but most mothers can't feel them. These contractions occur when the uterine muscles contract, and most doctors believe they are the body's way of preparing for labor. They can create a faint tingling sensation or a feeling of gliding as the uterus contracts and expands. Some women experience painful Braxton Hicks contractions. If you experience more than four contractions in an hour and are less than 37 weeks pregnant, contact your doctor.

Other Causes

Pregnancy can make normal bodily sensations more noticeable, and pregnant women tend to be more aware of feelings in and around their uterus. Gas, a common pregnancy symptom, can cause a moving, gliding sensation in the uterus. Some pregnant women can detect their pulse in their uterus. This occurs because of increased blood flow to the area, making subtle sensations more perceptible, according to Sears. Heavy exercise, hunger and stress can all cause your muscles to tense and relax, creating strange sensations in the uterus.

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  • Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology; Gerald Audesirk, et al.
  • The Pregnancy Book; Dr. William Sears, et al.
  • What's Going on in There?; Lise Eliot
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