24.03.2021

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Pregnancy Guides

Active Baby in the Womb: Complete Guide to What You’ll See Baby Doing

Do you think that you’ll only be able to see your active baby in the womb when you are at the very end of your pregnancy? Then you should think again! Babies are wriggly little creatures right from the very beginning of their magical life journey.

And if you are expecting your own wriggler, then you’ll be pleased (and surprised!) to hear that your little one is already doing somersaults and other acrobatic moves in your womb, even if you are still in your first trimester.

If you’re wondering “why is my baby so active in the womb?”, or “is an active baby in the womb healthy?” or other similar questions, then look no further than our complete guide to fetal movements!

Movers and Shakers: Discovering Your Active Baby in the Womb

It might sound crazy, but it’s true: babies start moving in the womb from the very first few weeks of gestation. Of course, it’s impossible for you to be able to feel or see any of those first movements, but a scan will show them to you with a lot of clarity.

Around your 9th or 10th week of pregnancy, an early ultrasound scan can reveal your baby’s movements, and put a smile on your face. At this stage, you won’t see any defined or precise movements, such as rolls, kicks, somersaults, yawns, and more, but you’ll already be able to identify some tiny jiggles.

This might surprise you—after all, your future baby is still super-tiny and hasn’t developed most of their major organs yet. Despite this, they are already becoming little movers and shakers in preparation for when they will be ready for the outside world!

Towards the end of your first trimester, which occurs at around week 12 of pregnancy, a scan might show you a more recognizable (and less alien-like!) baby, and their movements might also be seen with a bit more clarity.

For this, and many more, reasons, it’s worth considering booking a scan right around this time. And if you’re lucky, your sonographer might even be able to catch a snapshot of your little one right during their dance party!

couple laying on the sofa holding pregnant lady's belly

Will You See Anything from the Outside?

Will your baby’s movements show through your bump? Will you be able to see actual little foot and handprints on the skin of your belly? If you’ve ever wondered about this, then we can assure you that you are not alone.

While you might start feeling your baby’s quickening early in your second trimester, chances are that you won’t be able to see anything yet, and for a while. Being able to see your bump change because of your baby’s movements might also be a bit tricky depending on the position of your placenta.

Anterior placentas, which sit between the front wall of your uterus and your developing baby, can muffle the baby’s movements a bit. As a result, they may make it harder for you to feel distinct, strong movements.

If you have an anterior placenta, you might not be able to see your bump change from the outside, as the placenta creates a sort of cushion between your baby and your skin.

However, the further along you get into your pregnancy, the more likely it is for you (and anyone else!) to catch a few glimpses of what your baby is doing inside, from the outside. If and when that happens, you are in for a pretty amazing treat!

What Movements and Why?

Let’s now dive deeper into the reasons why your little one is so busy in there: what movements do babies make in the womb, and why do they move so much?

From little kicks and somersaults to super-cute yawns, from heart-melting thumb sucking to rolls and punches. Your active baby in the womb is a real acrobat and is already showing so much personality!

Fetal movement is a very fascinating subject and one that is being researched and updated all the time. Baby’s movements in the womb are several, with many of them resembling those that they will go on to have later on when they’re born.

In the womb, babies perform all sorts of movements. They stretch, turn around, lift their arms and legs, move their necks and heads, suck their thumbs, yawn, play with their umbilical cord, have hiccups, and cry. Yes, you’ve read it right: recent studies have found that babies’ first attempts to cry as a way to communicate happen during pregnancy.

The reasons behind all of these movements and gestures are varied. One of the most important ones is to enable them to grow, develop, and strengthen bones, muscles, and tissues. So, just like adults, babies move in the womb as a form of “exercise” in order to stay healthy and develop on track.

Babies also move in the womb as a way to explore and get familiar with their surroundings. This plays a fundamental role in their cognitive and neurological development, which is why it’s a great sign to feel all of those kicks and punches, even if they keep you awake at night! 

woman holding a pregnant lady's belly

Baby’s Movements as a Sign of Their Wellbeing

Your midwife or doctor might have already told you, but it’s important to reiterate: feeling your baby move is a sign that they’re doing well. Whilst you might be focusing on how much they are moving (and of course, this is an essential aspect), what you really should pay attention to is that their movements remain consistent.

Later on in your pregnancy, you should be able to start taking notice of your baby’s movement pattern. Are they a night owl, throwing a party in your belly at 1 in the morning, every night? Or do they wake you up at the crack of dawn with their kicks and rolls?

Either way, your baby’s pattern will be as unique as they are, and you will develop an “insider” (no pun intended!) knowledge of it. So, if at any point during your pregnancy you feel that something might be off with your baby’s pattern, then it’s important to call your midwife or visit your hospital for a quick reassurance. 

Remember that a mother’s instinct is rarely wrong, and you are already developing one right during your pregnancy. Advocate for yourself and for your baby, find a trusted healthcare provider and consult them whenever you have fears or doubts about your baby’s movements.

When Is a Lot of Movement Too Much?

If feeling your baby move means that they are all safe and sound in there, then it should be fine to feel a lot more movement than usual, right? Well, that’s a bit more complicated than that. Again, it all depends on what your baby’s individual patterns are, how much more they are moving, and at what intensity.

Is your baby normally pretty quiet, and never gives you any super-strong or intense kicks or punches, but all of a sudden seems a bit too active? If you’re feeling uncomfortable and just think that something might be up, then do not wait any longer and call your healthcare provider now.

Those babies that have always been very active, to the point of sometimes almost “hurting” your ribs or pressing hard against your bladder (ouch!) can also sometimes show a sudden increase in movements. If that’s the case for your little one, and if you are not feeling happy about it, then definitely get yourself checked out quickly. 

In the vast majority of cases, what you perceive as “too much” fetal movement will end up being nothing to worry about. However, suddenly increased fetal movement can sometimes happen as a result of pretty serious factors, such as an issue with the placenta or with the umbilical cord.

Let us repeat it again because it’s really important: if in doubt about your baby’s movements, ask for medical advice as soon as possible.

pregnant lady sitting on a bed with an early pregnancy ultrasound scan in hand

Get Familiar with Your Active Baby: Book a Scan for a Sneak Peek

Your baby’s movements are not just something fun and adorable: they are a vital indicator of how well they’re doing in there. So, keep an eye on their movement pattern, and if you notice any sudden change, be sure to call your healthcare provider right away. 

Would you like to take a sneak peek and find out what exactly your active baby in the womb is doing in there? Then book a scan with us. Remember that you can see your little one move right from when they’re just a dot, so don’t put off your scan if you’re still early in your pregnancy!

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