The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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What an amazing time in history to be born. Whether you'll be up at midnight on New Year's eve because your baby's hungry or you're celebrating your last footloose and fancy free party before parenthood; this New Year will be like none you've ever experienced before. 2009 will be fascinating and your child will grow up with a history unlike any other. He/she will have opportunities and gifts we can't even comprehend right now because history is happening at lightening speed.
It's tempting to think we parents will need special skills to raise children in the years ahead. Naah, don't worry about it. The world is changing but kids are kids. They need the same stuff as kids did thousands of years ago: parents who love them beyond reason, safety, security and stimulation balanced with routine. They need enough to eat but not too much. They need to go out and play and come home to a family who welcomes them as they run through the door. They need to be accepted for who they are and supported over the bumps in the road. Same stuff as all kids have always needed.
I had a baby in 2000 (another historic year). She was a heck of a surprise and one of the best gifts my life ever gave me. We joke, however, that was the year I wasn't Y2K compliant. She takes pride in being a "Millennium baby," born at a special spot in history. This little girl considers the "olden days" as the years of my childhood, before Y2K/CD/DVD/ADHD/MP3/LMNOP, computers in every home and civil rights. Imagine what your baby will think of the years before 2009. You're going to be asked questions like, "Mama, back in the olden days, before the IPhone and President Obama, did you have electricity and toilet paper?" No really, you'll think it's cute.
Marie wrote this week with questions and worry about when she'll start feeling her baby's first kicks and wiggles. She's had a couple miscarriages and is understandably concerned that though she's already made it to 20 weeks (Yay! Go Marie), it could happen again. She's ready to feel this baby rock her world and make his/her presence known. So, the question is: when do most women feel their baby kick for the first time?
There's such a wide time range for this intensely unique experience. It's hard to know exactly what to expect or what all those weird uterine feelings are. While some women (especially those who've been pregnant before) feel a little something as early as 13 weeks, that's pretty unusual. First timers usually get that first sensation around 20 weeks. It's not weird or a sign of danger if you feel nothing until even as late as 25 weeks. It depends on so many things like how sensitive your internal organs are, where the baby is lying in the uterus and exactly how many weeks along you are.
At 20 weeks, your baby is about nine ounces and a little more than seven inches long. That's not a lot. A small cup of Starbucks is bigger than that. He/she doesn't have much muscle-mass so those little stretches and kicks aren't going to pack much of a wallop. When you do finally feel something that you know is your baby moving, you might think back and remember, "Oh yeah, I felt something like that last week but then I burped and felt better."
I assume Marie, that you've been to see a midwife or doctor at least a few times by now and they've listened to your baby's heartbeat. A lot of providers recommend an ultrasound right around 20 weeks to determine baby has all the usual parts and no extras. It's not always medically necessary though and if your provider thinks everything's going smoothly, might not recommend one routinely.
If you're worried, however, you need to speak up and tell your provider. Say something like, "I haven't felt the baby move yet and considering I've had two pregnancies that didn't make it, I need some extra reassurance. Let's take a peek with the ultrasound machine." Most obstetric providers love the technology and will be happy to oblige. I suspect, however, that you'll start feeling a bubbling sensation down there sooner than you can get an appointment. I've heard it described as feeling like being touched by butterfly wings or like gas. Butterfly wings are a more romantic image but really, that's a very slight sensation. Most of us aren't aware of every single gas bubble either.
It will be soon, Marie and once you recognize it, you'll start noticing it a little more strongly week by week. You'll get to the point where you really do feel like you're getting kicked from the inside out. Now, go call your doctor or midwife and get the reassurance you need. That's what they're there for and you deserve their TLC.
Happy New Year, everyone. You are so dang lucky. Count your blessings; count those kicks and count 2008/2009 as some of the most amazing ones of your lives.
Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to email@example.com and it may be answered in a future blog post.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.