When Others Can Feel a Baby Move During Pregnancy

Partner Holding Mom's Pregnant Abdomen
The Image Bank/Getty Images

The question of when you'll start feel your baby move quickly leads to wondering when someone else will be able to feel the baby move, as well. The first movements, called quickening, are flutters that occur during the second trimester.

It may take a pregnant person anywhere from 13 to 25 weeks to begin feeling their fetus move, depending on a number of factors. But it will take longer before anyone can feel the baby kick from the outside.

Though it can vary from one pregnancy to another, on average others around you can begin to feel a fetus move around the end of the second trimester or near the beginning of the third trimester (weeks 28 to 32). It helps if they put their hands on your belly at the right moment and in the right spot.

Though you've been feeling movement for several weeks, your baby may still need to get bigger so that their movements can be felt from the outside. The movement can often be sporadic, which may seem like your baby is avoiding being felt by anyone but you. Your loved ones may just have to be patient and wait until you are further along in the pregnancy.

Why Others Cannot Feel Your Baby Move

There are factors that can make it less likely that others can feel your baby move. These include:

  • Extra padding: If you are overweight or carry extra weight around your abdomen, it may take longer to feel the baby because the movements have to be stronger and larger to be felt on the outside. This doesn't mean it's impossible, just less likely earlier on.
  • An anterior placenta: If your placenta is located at the front of your uterus, your baby's movements will need to be bigger and stronger to be felt through the placenta. This will also typically make it later for you to feel your baby move for the first time, too.
  • The position of the baby: Some positions that your baby assumes means their kicks and movements are more easily felt than others. This is not a bad thing for your baby. It's just hard to explain to well-meaning relatives who really, really want to feel a few baby kicks.

Allowing Others to Feel Your Baby Move

You may be excited to share your baby's kicks with your partner, relatives, and friends. But some people are reluctant to experience it. They may not want to touch your body in an intimate way to feel the baby move.

They may have an aversion they can't explain, even though they are supportive of your pregnancy. If your partner frequently wants to feel your baby kick, this may be welcome. But for others, you may want to set some boundaries. You will have to decide how much you are willing to let others feel your belly.

You might tell them it's allowed once a visit. Simply because you said yes to them feeling the baby move once, does not mean that you have given them an all-access pass. You have complete ownership over your body and who touches you when and where.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bradford BF, Thompson JMD, Heazell AEP, Mccowan LME, Mckinlay CJD. Understanding the associations and significance of fetal movements in overweight or obese pregnant women: a systematic review. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2018;97(1):13-24. doi:10.1111/aogs.13250

  2. Linde A, Georgsson S, Pettersson K, Holmström S, Norberg E, Rådestad I. Fetal movement in late pregnancy - a content analysis of women's experiences of how their unborn baby moved less or differentlyBMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016;16(1):127. doi:10.1186/s12884-016-0922-z

Additional Reading

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.