Your pregnancy and baby guide

Your baby's movements

You should start to feel your baby move between around 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. If this is your first baby, you might not feel movements until after 20 weeks.

The movements can feel like a gentle swirling or fluttering. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel kicks and jerky movements.

If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, tell your midwife. They'll check your baby's heartbeat and movements.

You should feel your baby move right up to and during labour.

How often should my baby move?

There's no set number of movements you should feel each day – every baby is different.

The important thing is to get to know your baby's usual movements from day to day.

Call your midwife or maternity unit straight away if:

  • your baby is moving less than usual
  • you cannot feel your baby moving any more

They'll need to check your baby's movements and heartbeat. Do not wait until the next day – call straight away, even if it's the middle of the night.

Important

Do not use a home doppler (heartbeat listening kit) to try to check the baby's heartbeat yourself. This is not a reliable way to check your baby's health – even if you hear a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.

Why are my baby's movements important?

If your baby is not well, they will not be as active as usual, which means less movement can be a sign of infection or another problem.

The sooner this is found out the better, so you and your baby can be given the right treatment and care. This could save your baby's life.

Find out more

You can find the Kicks Count app in the NHS apps library.

Find out the signs that labour may be starting.

Page last reviewed: 21/06/2018
Next review due: 21/06/2021