Baby Kicks During Pregnancy: What’s Normal, What’s Not

My pregnant patients ask me all the time,   “Dr. Minaya, when should I be able to feel the baby kick?!

For many women, pregnancy doesn’t seem real until they can feel their baby kicking.

So what should you expect? Some women may feel a flutter or two around 16 weeks, which is called quickening.

You might not feel real activity until about 20 weeks. That’s when your baby’s movements—poking fingers, prodding feet, jutting elbows—should become more obvious.

The best way to confirm the movement is to find a quiet place, lie down on your left side (this increases blood flow to the placenta) and place your hand in the middle of your belly just below your belly button. If you’re farther along in your pregnancy, place your hand directly on your belly button. Pay close attention and see if you can feel anything.

Ideally, you want to record five movements within an hour or ten movements within two hours.

During a normal, low-risk pregnancy, your baby’s movements are generally obvious and regular. Increasing your heart rate through exercise or eating a meal increases the baby’s activity. You may have trouble feeling your baby’s kicks if you have a higher body mass index, so take extra time when trying to monitor the movement.

If your pregnancy is considered high risk (you’re older than 35 or you’ve lost a pregnancy after 20 weeks), your doctor will want you to be especially alert for things like fewer than 5 kicks an hour, a change in fetal movement, or no movement in a span of two hours. This lack of activity may signify that something is wrong, which warrants a call to your doctor immediately.

I’m Dr. Evelyn Minaya for Live smart. Be healthy. Know more.


About the author

Dr. Evelyn Minaya

A board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist in practice for 17 years, Dr. Evelyn Minaya is a medical contributor for Fox News, CNN, HeadLine News, and has appeared on the Mike and Juliet Show, The O’Reilly Factor, as well as The Dr. Oz Show. She has also written articles for Redbook and Cosmopolitan magazines and Meridian Health Views, and appears frequently in videos for Sharecare and Fox Image Magazine online.

She is an active member of her community in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, donating her time to lecture in high schools, women’s groups and other healthcare venues. She mentors high school students who are interested in the medical field. She is also the former medical co-director of the ob/gyn clinic at Riverview Medical Center.