The First Kick

What does it feel like?


Wondering what your baby's first noticeable movement in utero is going to feel like, and when you might expect it?

Most women experience that first kick between 17 and 22 weeks, says maternal-fetal medicine specialist Alice Cootauco, M.D., of St. Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore. No fluttering yet?

"Routine anatomic ultrasounds at 19 to 20 weeks gestation help us confirm viability of the pregnancy and determine the placenta's location," she says. "If it is positioned in such a way that it's cushioning the movement, the first kick will be harder to feel."

Here's how some moms describe that miraculous moment:

"It felt like I was being poked from the inside."

"It was like having a really strong butterfly trapped in my tummy."

"It felt as though a very light bubble appeared, rose up and popped. I kept thinking, was that it? It wasn't anything like I'd expected."

"I wasn't sure if it was gas or indigestion, or if maybe there was an alien in there. But the nudge was reassuring, kind of like a, 'Hi, Mom!' "

Kick Counts

Paying attention to a fetus's movements in utero has been linked with a decrease in stillbirth. That's why First Candle, the nonprofit group behind the Back to Sleep SIDS-prevention campaign, encourages women to monitor or chart their babies' kicks beginning in the 28th week of pregnancy.

Related: Learn How to Count Kicks