Is your little one in the womb pulling off some crazy gymnastics in between contractions? You’re not alone!
It’s like your baby’s putting on a show right inside of you. Sometimes it’s a swift kick to the ribs, other times a gentle ripple across your belly. And, weirdly enough, it all seems to amp up between those pesky contractions.
Naturally, you can’t help but wonder what’s going on. Don’t worry, I’m going to help you understand those wild dance moves your baby is mastering.
Is it normal for baby to move in between contractions?
Yes, it is normal for your baby to be moving like crazy in between contractions during the late pregnancy. This usually starts from the 36th week upwards. When a baby moves during this time, it shows that they are healthy and active.
In fact it shows it is pretty well responding to the labor process. As an experienced midwife, I personally regard this activity as a sign of baby’s well-being during labor.
On the other hand, if these movements show up suddenly, or significantly decrease, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor.
What causes frantic fetal movement?
Sometimes your baby might move a lot in your belly, which can make you wonder why they’re so active. Here are five reasons your baby might be moving a lot:
This might sound funny, but it’s like your baby gets a sugar rush! When you eat or drink sugary foods or beverages, that sugar gets to your baby through the placenta, sort of like how a tree gets nutrients from the soil.
Once this sugar is absorbed by the baby’s system, it acts as a source of energy. This energy will cause them to become more active or even, a bit hyperactive, kind of like how you may feel a bit perky after drinking a sports drink, soda or eating a candy bar.
So, it’s similar to giving a child a sugar-filled treat. The increase in energy can make them extra active, and in a baby’s case, it might lead to them moving around more in the womb.
But don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal for your baby to become active after you eat something sweet. However, if you observe any unusual and very painful kicks, it’s always good to draw your doctor’s attention.
When you move around during the day doing your normal chores like cleaning, walking, or exercising, these movements can create a shaky environment for your baby.
Think about how it feels when you’re in a moving car or swaying in a hammock. That rocking motion can be very soothing, and for babies, they may even fall asleep because of it!
But, when you stop moving, it’s almost like someone hit the brake on that hammock or car. This change can wake your baby up. Once they’re wake up, they start moving and kicking in response.
It’s sort of like how you might stir or wake up when a relaxing car ride ends. So, it’s not that your activity causes frantic movements. Instead, it’s when your activity stops that your baby is more likely to start moving around.
Also, At night, when you’re resting or lying down, your baby might start to move around more. This is because they’re up and have plenty of room to stretch, kick, and even roll.
It’s also when they get more nutrients and oxygen, because of increased blood flow to the uterus. However, every baby is unique and might not follow these patterns. You could notice it being more active in the morning, afternoon or at random times.
Loud Noises and external stimulation
Loud noises can cause your baby to move around more in the womb. By the 24th week of pregnancy, babies can hear sounds from outside the world and start responding to them.
Though the sounds from outside are lower in the womb, it still hears them, causing it to startle and move suddenly. This is similar to how you might jump or move when you hear a loud noise you weren’t expecting.
Some experts believe pregnant women should not be routinely around noise louder than 115 decibels, which is about as loud as a chainsaw. If the noise becomes too loud and frequent, it’s important to move from the place to a more silent environment.
When you’re stressed
Stress experienced by a pregnant woman can also affect the baby in the womb. When you feel stressed, you produce stress hormones. And these hormones can get to your baby.
Getting stressed a lot of times while pregnant has been linked to later problems in the baby, such as ADHD and autism.
This is due to the fact that stress hormones cause changes in how the baby’s brain develops. Your baby feels uneasy when stress hormones reach them and hence, becomes hyperactive.
That is why it is important to reduce stress very much during pregnancy to ensure a healthy environment for the baby.
As you near your due date and labor approaches, you may notice some changes in your baby’s movements. During these times, the baby drops lower in the abdomen.
This is called “lightening” or “dropping”, and it could make the baby move a bit differently because there has been a change in where it used to hang.
This usually makes babies remain calm for a few days as it conserves energy for the birthing process, and it follows with harsh movements!
Any of these factors is a potential reason you might feel baby is moving like crazy in between contractions. And it’s absolutely normal unless movements are vigorous and causing a lot of discomfort.
In contrast, if you aren’t experiencing these movements too, then there could be something wrong. Reach to your doctor immediately if that’s the case.
What does baby do during contractions?
During labor contractions, your baby goes through several movements due to the squeezing and relaxing of your uterus muscles. As your uterus tightens and then relaxes, it helps move your baby downward and towards the birth canal.
Although it could feel uncomfortable for you, the baby stays safe within a cushioned area called the amniotic sac, filled with fluid.
Each baby reacts uniquely to contractions. Some may not move much, while others may wriggle or make small movements during contractions. You won’t be able to see these movements, but your doctor can check on your baby’s well-being during labor.
When should I worry about frantic fetal movement?
Understanding when to worry about frantic movements or baby’s movements is important for your peace of mind and the baby’s well-being.
You may feel concerned if your baby’s movements seem different or unusual, that is why it has always been important o pay close attention to its normal patterns or movements.
You should reach out to your doctor if you notice any of the following changes in your baby’s movements:
- Very forceful or frantic movements that feel different from typical movements.
- A sudden intense activity that seems out of their normal routine
- A significant decrease in frantic movements
- A significant increase in movements compared to their normal patterns
Is baby active right before labor?
Before labor, babies can show different levels of activity. Some babies might be more active, while others might move less than usual. In many cases, babies continue to follow their normal patterns of rest and activity until labor begins.
As labor gets closer, your baby might “drop,” meaning they descend lower into the pelvis. When this occurs, you might feel your baby moving differently due to their new position.
How much should your baby move during labor
During labor, your baby might move differently, but you should still be able to feel these movements. Babies may wiggle, shift, or react to the contractions (the tightening of the uterus that moves the baby for delivery).
Each baby is unique, so there isn’t a set number of an expected movement. Everyone experiences labor differently. In some cases, the baby might become less active as labor approaches because the womb becomes a tighter space for it.
What to do if baby is not moving between contractions?
If your baby isn’t moving between contractions, it’s important to stay calm and follow these steps:
- Lie down and focus on movements: Lie down on your left side. This position helps blood flow better to your baby. Focus on any changes in your baby’s movements.
- Perform a kick count: Keep track of your baby’s movements, also called “kick count”. Choose a time when your baby is usually active, and count their movements for 2 hours. If you count less than 10 movements in that time, contact your healthcare provider.
- Try to stimulate movement: Try having a cold drink or gently pressing on your belly. These actions might encourage your baby to move. You can also play soft music to get your baby moving.
- Call your healthcare provider: If you are still concerned about the lack of movement between contractions, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. They can provide guidance and determine if further evaluation is necessary.
How to tell difference between Braxton-hicks and baby movements
Telling the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and baby movements can be tricky, but each has its unique signs. Here’s a table you can use to spot the differences..
|Braxton-Hicks contractions||Baby movements|
|What it feels like||Feels like your belly gets tight or hard, then it goes soft again.||Feels like kicks, jabs, or rolling movements in your belly.|
|When it happens||They can happen anytime and often get stronger or more often when you’re active.||You often feel your baby move when you’re sitting quietly or lying down. Some babies are more active at certain times, like in the morning or at night.|
|Pain or discomfort||Usually are not painful but can be uncomfortable.||Movements should not cause pain, but they sometimes can tickle or feel weird.|
|Change over time||They don’t grow closer together, don’t last longer as time passes, and don’t make your cervix open.||Baby movements don’t cause your whole belly to harden and they can be seen/felt more as your pregnancy progresses.|
How will I know when I am having contractions?
If you’re a first time mom, it may be difficult to identify contractions. But these are the signs that show you’re having contratcions:
Feeling in your Belly
Just like when you have a stomach ache or the way your muscles feel after a really hard workout, your belly might feel sore or crampy.
Some people say it feels like really bad period cramps or like having severe diarrhea. This pain or discomfort might spread from your belly to your back.
As time goes on, the contractions usually happen more regularly. This means they come at somewhat predictable times.
If you feel your belly tightening or you have pain in your belly and it’s happening in a pattern or at regular intervals, that could be a sign of contractions.
Here’s a clue; They generally occur at 5-7 minute intervals, and lasts about 30 -70 seconds each.
Pain Level Increases
With real labor contractions, they typically get stronger over time. These aren’t like other types of pain that might come and go or gradually get better. These contractions get more intense.
Unlike other types of aches, walking or changing positions won’t make the pain of contractions go away. They keep happening no matter what activity you’re doing.
True labor contractions can cause your cervix to dilate (open) and efface (thin). Your healthcare provider can determine these changes through a cervical exam.
Increased baby movement before labor
Do babies hurt during labor?
Naturally, babies are designed to handle the journey of birth. But just like any other process, there can be risks.
Some risks may include oxygen shortage, premature birth, umbilical cord issues and shoulder dystocia where baby’s head comes out but have its shoulders stuck.
However, these happen in rare cases and your doctor would take quick steps to keep your baby safe.
Why babies cry when they are born?
Babies cry not because they feel hurt, but because;
They’re breathing for the first time:
Babies In the womb don’t use their lungs for breathing. They get oxygen through the umbilical cord that connects them to their mom. When born, it needs to start using it’s lungs to breathe.
Therefore they cry to help clear out the fluid that might be in their lungs and mouth, helping them to take their first breath.
Adjusting to their environment:
The world outside the womb is a completely new thing for babies. It’s much colder and brighter, and there are all kinds of new sounds and feelings. Crying is a way for babies to react to all this new stuff all at once.
Feeling your baby moving like crazy in between contractions is a clear sign that they are active and healthy. But when those movements seem very strong in between contractions, it might seem a bit unnerving.
Nonetheless, it’s normal for your little one to move in response to the contractions. It can be a sign that your baby is doing his part in preparation of the journey ahead of them (labor).
Go ahead and talk to your doctor if you’re uncertain or if movements are causing a lot of discomfort. You know your body and your baby’s patterns best – so, don’t ignore your instincts.
Always remember, no question or concern is too small when it comes to your well-being and that of your baby.
Although these movements might feel like a surprise dance party in your tummy, they are a small part of the extraordinary journey of pregnancy.