Feeling Your Baby Move in Your Second Pregnancy

You may feel fetal movement sooner the second time around

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. 

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. 

How Early Can You Feel Baby Move?

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, digestion, or 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.

Who Detects Fetal Movement Early?

Second-time mothers may feel their babies move sooner, but every pregnancy is different. Moms who feel the baby early in the pregnancy tend to report similar characteristics. These women are typically:

  • Not first-time moms
  • Thinner
  • Lying down or curled up and quiet when they first feel the baby move
  • Not feeling the baby move consistently in the early days

You Might Not Feel Second Baby Sooner

It can still be normal to not feel your baby move until later in pregnancy, even in your second, third, or fourth time around. You may start feeling the baby about the same time as your last baby or even slightly later.

Some reasons why you may feel baby move later in your second pregnancy than your first include: 

  • Placenta placement: An anterior placenta may block your baby’s kicks. The placenta has no nerves, so kicks need to be larger to be felt.
  • Baby's position: 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 as a direct kick to the uterine wall.
  • Less fluid: If there is less amniotic fluid, your baby's ability to move around will be restricted.
  • Your weight: If you weigh more than you did in your first pregnancy, the extra padding can make it more difficult to feel the kicks externally.

Concerns About 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 about feeling your baby's movements.

Your perception of a lack of or decrease in fetal movement are valid indicators for a follow-up visit. Your doctor has other ways to check that your baby is developing as expected, including ultrasound imaging.

Later in pregnancy, a non-stress test may 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

Every pregnancy is different. What you experienced in your first pregnancy will be different than your experience in subsequent pregnancies. Do not hesitate to talk to your practitioner for advice. Your doctor or midwife is accustomed to answering questions from experienced mothers and first-time mothers.

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Article Sources

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/How-Your-Fetus-Grows-During-Pregnancy/

  • Bryant J, Thistle J. Fetal Movement. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan.