Feeling Your Baby Move in Your Second Pregnancy

You May Feel Fetal Movement Sooner

How soon will you feel your second baby?

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Your second pregnancy makes everything a bit different, and that includes when you start to feel your baby move. A first-time mother might not feel her baby move until after 18 to 22 weeks, while an experienced mother might notice movement slightly sooner, around 16 to 18 weeks of pregnancy. Or, you may notice it a lot sooner, as late in the first trimester. Your baby is moving from early pregnancy on, though typically the baby is so small that it is difficult to feel. Feeling your baby move for the first time in each pregnancy is called quickening. Learn why second-time mothers may or may not feel their babies move sooner.

Who Feels Their Baby Move Sooner?

Moms who feel the baby early on often report these factors:

  • They are not first-time moms.
  • They are typically thinner.
  • They are usually lying down or curled up and quiet.
  • This early, they do not feel the baby consistently.

Why Experienced Mothers May Feel Their Baby Move Sooner

The fetus begins to be able to flex his arms and legs between weeks 13 and 16 of pregnancy. The uterus and nearby intestines don't have their own sensory nerves, so any movements of the baby must be vigorous enough to transmit the sensation to the nerve receptors in your abdominal surface or pelvic area. The earliest movements that can be felt are easily confused with your own intestinal gas, stomach and gut rumblings when digesting food, and abdominal contractions. They can feel like gentle fluttering movements. An experienced mother will be looking for these sensations while a first-time mother doesn't yet know how to distinguish them.

During your first pregnancy, you may have been monitoring the movements of your baby to report on a general sense of activity or a kick count. With a kick count, you select a time of the day when you will begin to count 10 baby movements, then record how long it took to reach 10. Having done this in your first pregnancy, you will be more attuned to what these movements feel like.

Why You May Not Feel Your Second Baby Move Sooner

It can still be normal not to feel your baby move until later in pregnancy, even in your second pregnancy or more. You might be feeling the baby about the same time as your last baby or even slightly later if any of the following are true:

  • You have an anterior placenta. This means it blocks the kicks of your baby. Because it has no nerves, the kicks have to be larger to feel them through the placenta.
  • Your baby's position can alter how you experience the movement. If your baby is tucked into one area and kicking into an open space of amniotic fluid, you're not likely to feel that movement as well. (This about what you feel when another swimmer is underwater and close.)
  • The amount of amniotic fluid. With less fluid, the baby can't move around as much.
  • You weigh more than you did in your first pregnancy. The extra padding can make it more difficult to feel the kicks externally.

If You Are Concerned About Your Baby's Movements

If think you should feel the baby but don't, it is normal to be worried. Talk to your doctor or midwife about any concerns that you have with your baby moving. Your perceptions of lack of fetal movement or decreased fetal movement are a valid indicator for a follow-up. Your doctor will have many other ways to check that this baby is developing as expected. These include ultrasound imaging. Later in pregnancy, a non-stress test might be used to monitor the accelerations of the fetal heart. This test involves lying down for 20 minutes wearing a sensor belt that measures the fetal heart rate.

A Word From Verywell

Someone once said that in your first pregnancy, you're worried because you don't know what to expect, and in your second pregnancy, you're worried because you do and it doesn't work that way. You may be surprised at how different each pregnancy is from what you expect. Do not hesitate to talk to your practitioner for advice. Your doctor or midwife is used to second or more time mothers just as much as the first-time mothers.

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Article Sources
  • Bryant J, Thistle J. Fetal Movement. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan.
  • How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/How-Your-Fetus-Grows-During-Pregnancy/