Fetal movements during pregnancy in Singapore

Baby’s kicks or movements, are a good indicator of how well your baby is doing in the womb. Monitoring your baby’s movements is something you can do at your convenience. Just choose one hour during the day when your baby tends to be active and you are able to concentrate and simply count the movements, kicks or rolls you feel during that one-hour period.

How many fetal movements per day is normal? 

Most women will begin to feel the baby move between 16-20 weeks. These first movements are often described as “flutters.” Around 32 weeks (or 28 weeks gestation, if your pregnancy is considered high risk), your obstetrician may ask you to start counting your baby’s movements.

A healthy baby usually kicks at least 10 times per hour. If you don’t feel at least five kicks within the first hour, try putting on some music or drinking ice cold water, then lie down on your side and focus on feeling your baby’s movements. You could also nudge the baby or talk to him/her.

If after the second hour you are not feeling at least 10 movements, please check in with your obstetrician. While it is normal for babies to have periods of inactivity (they need to sleep and grow), you may need further checks.

What are the different fetal movements? 

All fetal movements are unique and different! At first you may feel fluttering movements, which later progress to stronger kicks, squirming, rolling and wriggling. There may also be hiccup movements. As such, fetal movements are classified as weak, strong, and rolling. 

Here’s how your baby and his/her metal movements develop over time; 

Before 9 weeks: All the limbs move as one unit together as the nerves are still developing. 

9 weeks: Yawns and stretches are detected on ultrasound.

10 weeks: You may see your baby’s limbs moving separately and tiny startle movements. 

11 weeks: Your baby can open his/her mouth and suck the fingers.

12 weeks: You may be able to see your baby swallow amniotic fluid through ultrasound. 

13 weeks: By this time, your baby can move his/her arms and legs vigorously and respond to skin touch. 

14-20 weeks: An event called ‘quickening’ occurs, whereby you feel your first fetal movements. 

20-36 weeks: At this stage, as your baby moves all the joints and spine, all types of fetal movements are felt. While the pattern of movement changes, strong and rolling movements are more frequent. 

28 weeks: At this stage, your baby shows a startle reflex, where he/she brings both arms and legs toward the chest when met with sudden movement or loud noise. 

Third trimester: Your baby shows a bicycling movement called stepping to turn upside down for a normal delivery. 

When should I be concerned about fetal movement?

As you approach your due date, your baby occupies most of the space inside your womb. As such, it is normal for your baby’s movements to be less dramatic. However, you should still be able to feel six or more kicks within an hour. If you don’t, contact your obstetrician.

There are many apps to facilitate foetal movement counting. “Count the Kicks” is one such simple app which makes kick counting very convenient. Whatever method you choose, enjoy the hour you set aside to bond with your growing baby! 

Speak to our Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialists Today!