How to Survive the Wait for the Butterflies!
I am currently at 22 weeks pregnant and for the last couple of weeks I have been very aware of baby’s movements.
This is entirely due to the fact that it has been incessantly kicking me in the bladder.
Trying to explain what this feels like is no easy task. It mostly feels like I get kicked and then simultaneously have an overwhelming urge to go for a wee. A temporary urge. It feels oddly like I am being kicked in a tube that connects my bladder to my urethra; it’s weird!
My twenty-week scan last weekend confirmed that baby is indeed lying (upside down) with its head up and its feet down. You could see it constantly kicking me in the bladder.
I think the husband thought that I was making it up until he saw it!
Hopefully it will turn itself the other way up shortly and give my poor battered bladder a well-deserved break!
This started me thinking about feeling baby move and how different all these early movements have felt second time round.
I haven’t had the time to sit down and actively feel baby turning and swirling around like I did first time around. I have instead just been very aware of the kicks.
When I was pregnant with Lil’Mem I would lie quietly for ages feeling those early butterflies, kicks and rolls. I had a lot less demands on my time back then!
I felt baby move sooner, second time around.
Saying this, I felt baby moving a lot sooner this time around, at around 15 weeks. This was mainly because I knew what it felt like and what to expect.
The first time around I didn’t feel Lil’Mem move until closer to twenty weeks. I can vividly remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I felt that first un-deniable kick!
Today at this 22 week point, baby has definitely been giving me a good kicking and not just in the bladder!
I can feel little hands and feet poking me all over the place; those movements are completely undeniable now!
It didn’t feel real until I could feel baby.
Up until the point that I felt those first movements, with both pregnancies, I definitely, didn’t really buy into the who idea that I was actually pregnant.
I mean, sure, I was going through the motions and doing all I was meant to; I had seen baby was in there and definitely felt pregnant, but it didn’t really ‘click’ that I was pregnant until I felt baby move!
There is something very comforting about feeling baby wriggle, move and kick. It’s not only reassurance that baby is all wriggly and well, it’s the feeling that you are not alone; your little passenger is definitely on board!
This one probably sounds a bit strange if you’re not quite there yet, but bear with me, you will understand soon!
What does a baby moving feel like?
If this is your first pregnancy, you might mistake baby’s first movements, those butterflies, for gas (a very common misconception first time round) or twinges in your belly.
During second or subsequent pregnancies they will be completely undeniable!
The only way to describe the first movements is exactly that I’m afraid – gas and butterflies!
Pregnant ladies often describe those first moments as flutters, twitches, or a swirling, tumbling motion. I would agree with all of these!
Keep an eye out – you will soon be able to make your own interpretations!
When can you feel baby move?
You should start to feel baby move, somewhere in between week 16 and week 25.
If you, like me, are not a complete newbie to pregnancy, you will probably feel baby move a lot earlier than if it is your first pregnancy.
If this is your first pregnancy you may not feel baby move until closer to 25 weeks.
It might feel like a long while to wait, but don’t panic lady – it will come!
If at any point you are concerned that you haven’t felt any movements yet, talk to your midwife or primary care provider.
As I will keep saying they have seen it all before and will be able to give you all the help and advice you need!
When can my partner feel the baby kick?
Sometimes your partner can feel a bit distanced or estranged from your pregnancy in the beginning weeks and months.
Although they want to be engaged in the whole process, they are not feeling the same things that you are. They are not getting the attention that you and bump are receiving, they are not, at the end of the day, the one who is pregnant.
Being able to feel baby moving is something wonderfully inclusive that can allow your partner the chance to feel what you are feeling, and to get to know baby before it arrives.
I very specifically remember that The Husband was never really that engaged in my first pregnancy until he felt Lil’Mem moving for the first time. It didn’t seem to feel even remotely real to him that a baby was actually growing inside my bulging belly before this!
I will never forget the look on his face!
It was very late into the pregnancy when I finally got him to feel her moving for the first time.
I must have been around 30 weeks gone and we were staying away in London for the weekend. In a quiet moment in the hotel room, he laid his head on my belly and got a full blown kicking from Lil’Mem.
I remember the amazed look on his face as it suddenly clicked with him that we had a child on the way!
He was more engaged with all things baby from then on! Lil’Mem and The Husband are now the best of friends and really close; long may it continue!
Although you will probably be able to feel baby move sooner, your partner (or anyone else for that matter – my mum loved trying to cop a feel of Lil’Mem!) should be able to feel baby kicking from the outside anywhere from 20 weeks.
As I have been writing this piece and baby has been having a boxing match in my uterus today, I asked the Husband to put this theory into practise. Low and behold he felt this baby kick for the first time this evening (22 weeks + 1 day).
How soon you will be able to feel baby kick from the outside will depend on various things like, how thick your abdominal wall is, how much weight you are carrying, where your placenta is and how active baby is being.
If you, or anyone else can’t feel anything yet (and believe me it can be a game of patience!) hang in there, it won’t be long!
Towards the end of your pregnancy you won’t just feel baby moving, you will see it as space gets tight. It’s very odd to watch but equally amazing to!
Your baby will be having their own boxing match soon!
Give yourself and baby time. You, your partner and everyone else will be able to feel those wiggles, turns, kicks, jabs, elbows, feet, hands, legs and even hiccups very soon!
However, if you are getting impatient, however, there are a few things you can try!
How to get baby to move in Utero:
Find some peace, quiet and a place to lay down.
If you are desperate to feel those first butterflies, find yourself some time and space to really concentrate on feeling baby move.
Don’t try too hard too early or you may find you frustrate yourself. Anytime from 15 weeks on, give yourself 15 minutes or so, a couple of times a week, to see if you can tune into feeling baby move.
Find a quiet place to have a lay down (on your side after 20 weeks) where you won’t be disturbed and tune in to what’s going on in your belly.
Look for any patterns and those butterflies.
Soon you will be able to feel what’s baby wiggling and what’s gas!
Play Prod and Poke
Baby can feel you giving it a poke or a jiggle and they do respond with movement!
Often if a Midwife or other medical professional wants baby to move, they will give your belly a little jiggle!
Give it a go! Give baby a little prod by pushing on the side of your belly slightly or give your belly a little jiggle (think like Father Christmas!). Then see if they respond.
Just be gentle, you have something very precious in there!
Talk to baby
Baby’s hearing starts developing from week 16 of pregnancy. By week 22 baby can probably hear you talking!
Whilst it may seem odd to talk to your belly, baby will be able to hear you sooner or later. It’s a lovely way to bond with baby before they make their triumphant appearance!
Baby may respond to your voice with movement. Have a little chat with your bump and see if baby treats you to a kick in return!
Crank up the music!
In the same way that baby can hear your voice, they can hear other sounds and music!
This baby loves the sound of the shredder in my office. As soon as I’m doing some shredding it gives me a good kicking!
Crank up some music and see if baby does a little dance!
Get up, then sit down!
It might sound a little odd and it is a bit of an old wives’ tale, but this one makes sense to me and I have definitely felt its effects!
The theory goes that as you are moving around, baby is rocked to sleep by your movements and as you sit down and stop moving they wake up.
Anyone who has tried desperately to get a new-born to sleep will concur that this theory is correct!
Give this a go; do some jumping jacks, do a jog on the spot or go for a little walk, then stop and sit or lie down and see if baby moves. I bet you it does!
Have a snack
As you are sharing the same body; when your blood sugar picks up after you have eaten something, so does you baby’s.
You know that feeling when you combat the 3pm slump with the 3pm snack? So does baby!
Have a snack and see if baby thanks you for the food with a little wiggle!
Try in the evenings
Babies have definite rest and active periods in utero. Usually they are conveniently most active when you want to go to bed!
I know that most pregnant women will concur with this one. The little peanut in my uterus goes into overdrive after dinner in the evenings!
The best time to wait for a kick or a wiggle is therefore in the evening.
Try having a lovely long, relaxing, evening bath and seeing if baby gives you a nudge!
Don’t worry if these don’t work for you and your baby; all pregnancies are different!
However, if you are concerned at all, at any point about your baby’s movements – contact your Midwife or Primary Practitioner as soon as possible for advice!