When will I feel it?
Baby movement patterns
Concerns about baby movements
Amazingly an unborn baby starts to physically move by about 10 weeks of the pregnancy. This is when all their large muscles have developed, forming a thickened layer of padding between their bones and skin. Their movements begin as jerky and uncoordinated actions of their arms and legs, becoming more purposeful as they mature. These early activities are not usually felt by the mother, but can sometimes be witnessed during an ultrasound. It is now recognised that a baby's movements inside the womb are important to stimulate their muscle growth and development, maintain the flexibility of their joints and help the shaping and strengthening of their bones and the development of their nervous system.
The woman will start to feel her baby move once they have grown strong enough to place an adequate amount of pressure on the walls of her uterus to stimulate the nerves in the skin of her belly. A woman's uterus (or womb) does not have sensory nerves capable of detecting the baby's movements, nor do her intestines that lie behind the uterus. This means that only movements that are directed towards the front of a woman's uterus (towards her belly surface) will be felt. However, if the baby's movements are strategically placed (or the baby is lying in a certain position), sensations may also be felt by the woman in her pelvic area around her cervix, vagina, bladder and bottom (or anus). Once the baby is quite large, movements and pressure may also be felt in the woman's ribs, pubic bone and lower back. You can read more about the anatomy and physiology of the woman's pregnant body here.