Get your kicks with baby
It’s around week 19 that you are likely to feel your baby kick for the first time. Although, chances are that she’ll have been dancing around and practising ballets leaps and football free kicks for some time before you get to feel it for real yourself.
“Now,” says your partner. “Feel it now – it’s kicking.” Only for it to suddenly go all shy the moment your expectant hand approaches.
As you will doubtless discover over the coming couple of years, babies and young children have a habit of doing this: refusing to perform on demand, and why should they, when we’re in our infancy it really is the one time we will ever be able to feel like we have all the time in the world.
When do kicks become noticeable?
Although babies begin moving, in utero, at around 8 weeks – you might even have witnessed some break dancing during the ultrasound – it is not until around 18 to 22 weeks that baby’s kicks become tangible to the “outside observer” – although sometimes it may be several weeks later than this.
However, your partner may have noticed kicks for a while – or might think she has; pregnancy causes all kinds of gurgles and rumbles in and around the abdomen, many of which can easily be confused with kicks, particularly if it is your partner’s first pregnancy and she may not yet be able to tell the difference.
Note: if your partner has very little body fat, chances are that you will begin to feel kicking at an earlier stage than if she is more well-padded or has strong stomach muscles.
Encouraging baby to kick
If your baby is still refusing to perform on demand and all you want to do is feel the little flutter of its feet, there are things you and your partner can do to encourage it along a little. So why not try the following:
- The spotlight – By 22 weeks it’s possible that your baby’s eyes will be developed enough to perceive light. Some parents report that by shining a torch at the bump you can get baby to respond to being in the spotlight.
- Have a chat – Similarly, by 22 weeks your baby’s hearing may have developed enough to respond to sound. It is an amazing feeling to talk to your baby and to feel it excitedly react by kicking its feet.
- Sugar rush – Give your partner a snack and the surge of blood sugar for baby may mean you’ll be lucky enough to feel it celebrate with a little dance.
- Waltz your partner round the room – Any surge in activity, whether it is a dance, a light jog or some (gentle) star jumps, may get baby in the mood to respond in kind.
- Give it a poke – You could try gently poking the side of your partner’s belly to see if baby “pokes back”.
- Play some music – Try putting some music on, even if you and your partner don’t get up and dance, you might at least feel baby trying to. Even better, why not sing baby a song yourself.
- Lie down – You probably know that one of the most effective ways to get a baby to sleep is to take it for a drive or for a venture in its pushchair. It’s the same when they’re in utero, often when your partner is up and about, she is simply lulling the baby to sleep. If she lies down and stays still for a while, baby just might wake up and give you a good, loving kick.
And if all of this fails and baby still won’t do you the honour of kicking you, rest assured, you’ll feel it soon and, let’s face it, from birth onwards you’ll spend more time trying to get it to sleep, so make the most of this time now, when every movement is welcome and every kick a blessing.