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NOTE: Opinions and advice provided on this website are based on the personal experience of the author, Stacy Quarty. Ms. Quarty in no way claims to be a professional source of medical, psychological or statistical information.

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Fetal Movement

Q. I am 25 weeks pregnant with my first child. She is quite an active baby and lately she has been kicking me very low. In fact, it feels like she is trying to kick through my cervix and into my vagina. This causes rather odd pressure/vibration feelings through the entire birth canal and vagina. Is there any way she could dislodge my mucous plug or stimulate labor, or is this just normal? Thanks!
-Anonymous, California

A. Yes, it's annoying and painful at times, but quite normal. Your baby is probably sitting upright and you are feeling plenty of movement down below from the legs and feet. When she kicks directly at your cervix or bowels, you may suddenly suck in your breath with surprise or pain.

During my second pregnancy, I remember feeling a sharp pressure/pain deep within my vagina that most resembled the feeling one gets during a pap smear. I knew from prior experience that it must be the baby pushing or punching at my cervix. There were other times when I felt like the baby might actually be closer to coming out of my butt than my vagina. One night, the baby had hiccups that I could actually feel in my rectum!

I don't think you need to worry about your baby dislodging your mucous plug or stimulating labor. Your cervix should be pretty tightly sealed. It's meant to endure the trials and tribulations of the baby mambo.

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Q. I am about 21 weeks pregnant with my first child. I haven't felt many movements from the baby. I'm not even certain that what I have felt was from the baby. I had my ultrasound last week, and the technician commented on how active the baby was. The placenta is positioned at the front of my belly. Is this a possible reason for the lack of movement I've felt? Will it keep me from being able to feel the baby's movements later on when counting the movements can be so important?
-Desiree, Pennsylvania

A. It is possible that you haven't been feeling the baby as much as you could because of the position of the placenta. The baby may be kicking, punching and twirling around a lot more towards the middle of your uterus, as opposed to the sides, where you would feel it more. I wouldn't worry yet. Many women don't feel their baby move until well after 24 weeks.

After week 34 or so, when the baby doesn't have as much room, believe me – you won't be able to miss those movements. In the last trimester, not only will you feel the baby a lot more, but you will also see the small body parts pushing out against your skin. It's freaky!

Q. I'm eleven weeks pregnant and my OB/GYN said that my uterus is tilted. He said this was why he was unable to find a heartbeat initially, but he thought he heard it faintly. Should I be worried?
-Hayley, Oklahoma

A. It's sometimes possible to hear the fetal heartbeat between 10 and 12 weeks, but only with the use of a highly sensitive instrument called a Doppler. Your doctor may not be able to detect a heartbeat until week 17 or 18 because of the baby's position, excess layers of maternal fat or a tilted uterus, which would be your case. I wouldn't worry, especially since your doctor did hear something. Your baby is most likely doing just fine and at your next visit you will be able to hear the heartbeat loud and clear.

Q. I am 34 weeks pregnant, and for the last 10 to 15 weeks my baby occasionally shudders or spasms for perhaps five seconds. It feels like it is not her whole body, but maybe a limb? It's a completely different feeling to when she rolls, prods and kicks me. Is this normal, or could it be a sign that something is wrong with her? I'm really quite concerned.
-Anonymous, Australia

A. A shudder or body spasm from your baby is quite normal. You may notice newborns occasionally doing it, too. Maybe your baby was twitching or shuddering from a dream or just waking. As long as you are feeling movements, whether they are rolls, prods, kicks or shudders, your baby is most likely just fine.

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Q. I am 29 weeks pregnant and my baby seems to be moving all the time, day and night. Can a baby actually move too much? Could he be under distress?
-Anonymous, California

A. I don't think you need to be concerned about too much movement. It's too little or no movement that may signal trouble. Some babies are more active than others and even move about while sleeping. It's also possible that you may be feeling gas bubbles from time to time that resemble the baby's movement.

Q. I have a bruise on my pelvic area. Could it be from the baby kicking?
-Kim, Canada

A. If you see a bruise on your skin, it's probably not the baby's kicks that caused it. If the baby bruises anything at all, it would be the uterine lining, which you wouldn't see, but might feel.

Lots of veins come to the surface of the abdomen during pregnancy and are very prone to rupturing, which can cause a bruise.

It's quite common during pregnancy to become very klutzy, especially while carrying around a big ol' belly that you're not used to navigating. It's possible that you hit your hip or pelvis on a table or something without even realizing it. It happens A LOT during pregnancy.

Q. Do babies typically move more when there's a storm? It's been storming for a few days here and my baby's movement seems stronger when it's storming than when it's not.
-Tricia, Colorado

A. I've never heard of fetal movement being linked to storm activity, but I guess it could happen. It's possible your baby can feel changes in barometric pressure within the womb and is more restless because of it. Who knows — maybe your baby will grow up to be a meteorologist!

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Q. I am eight weeks pregnant with my third child. For the past week or so, I have been experiencing a "fluttering" at the top of my stomach just below the middle of my breasts. It lasts for about five seconds at a time. Could this be the baby already? It's not painful or constant, but I seem to notice it many times a day.
-Robin, Kentucky

A. It is possible that you are feeling fetal movement this early. With each subsequent pregnancy, women are able to decipher the baby's squirms, twists and wiggles earlier and earlier. Most women first recognize fetal movement between 14 and 26 weeks. If you've had a baby before, you're more likely to feel it earlier because you know what to expect and your uterine muscles are more lax, making it easier to feel. And, if you are a slender woman, your chances for feeling movement sooner increase even more.

Q. I am 33 years old and 24 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. The baby moves quite a bit (a good sign), but sometimes the kicks and jerks can be so hard that they make me sore in the stomach! Is there anything natural I can do to help calm this wild child down? My stomach literally aches day and night because of the same movements!
-Anonymous, Ohio

A. I, too, can remember around week 24 having such frequent and vigorous baby mambo that it made me sore and kept me up at night. I found that if I took my hand and slowly stroked my baby's body through my belly, it would help calm her down. Sometimes she would even fall asleep (at least that's what it felt like).

You might also try altering your diet to avoid gassy or stimulating foods that could affect your baby's activity. Try avoiding foods containing caffeine, heavily spiced or garlicky foods, uncooked broccoli or cauliflower, baked beans, etc. to see if this makes a difference with your baby mambo.

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Q. I am 21 weeks pregnant. I was sitting on a chair at work today and bent forward to pick up a pen off the floor. As I did this I felt a crunching (like that of two bones being rubbed together) in my tummy where the baby's head is. I am worried that I may have harmed the baby. Is it possible that I may have caused damage? I am not really able to feel the fetus move yet, so I have no real way of having him let me know if he is okay.
-Anonymous, United Kingdom

A. This crunching, rubbing, bag-of-rocks-in-the-belly feeling is very normal. You will probably notice many more of these crunching episodes in the weeks to come. Before I got pregnant, I remember thinking that a pregnant belly would be very much like having a fat stomach. I found quite the contrary to be true. Unlike soft, pliable fat, my stomach felt like it was filled with a bag of rocks that would crunch against my ribs and pelvic bones when I bent over or squatted. Don't worry; the baby is well protected and quite pliable. After all, the baby's head and body will get squished considerably more during childbirth.

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Disclaimer: This web site, Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, and the book it represents, Frankly Pregnant: A Candid Week-by-Week Guide to the Unexpected Joys, Raging Hormones, and Common Experiences of Pregnancy, in no way claim to be sources for expert medical or professional advice of any kind.

©2006 Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, by Stacy Quarty. All rights reserved.

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