Actually seeing your baby with an ultrasound is one of the joys of pregnancy, but with fetal movement you can feel for yourself that, "There's a baby in here!" That's a joy you'll want to feel as soon as you can.
So let's take a look at how fetal movement is felt and from about when!
What is fetal movement like?
At about the 5th month of pregnancy, the baby's skeleton and muscles have developed and he starts stretching his arms and legs in the amniotic fluid and moving around actively. The feeling when his arms and legs bump against the mama's uterine wall is what fetal movement refers to. Fetal movement not only makes you really feel that there's a baby in your belly, but it's also an important tool of communication that tells the mama how the baby is doing.
Period when you'll feel fetal movement for the first time
In general, the time when you'll first feel fetal movement is said to be roughly between 18 and 20 weeks into the pregnancy. But the period when you feel fetal movement varies widely among individuals. The way you feel it also varies depending on the thickness of the mama's subcutaneous fat, the amount of amniotic fluid, and the position of the placenta, for example. So if you pass this period and you still cannot feel fetal movement, there's no need to worry. As long as you can verify through ultrasounds, etc., that the baby is growing fine, there's no problem, so you can relax.
Changes in baby's movements
The truth is, the baby is moving around long before mama can feel the fetal movement.
At about the 7th week of pregnancy, the nerves have developed, and starting around the 12th week the fetus starts sucking its thumb or fingers. Then after the 20th week, it starts moving around freely in the amniotic fluid! That's the time when mama starts feeling fetal movement.
Changes in how you'll feel fetal movement
Just as the period when you first feel fetal movement varies from one person to the next, the way it is felt also varies widely.
What starts as a tingly feeling like static electricity passing through your belly changes into a sensation like bubbles popping here and there, and then it becomes a more distinct sensation where you'll know for sure that, "Oh, he must be kicking!" Sometimes, you may also feel baby hiccuping.
When the movement becomes more intense, you may be able to see the baby moving just by looking at your belly.
Just before birth, the baby descends, and it's said that fetal movement may quieten down, but this, too, varies from one person to the next. Some babies move around in the belly right up until contractions start, so it doesn't apply categorically.