- by Dr Jameela Khalid
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- Sep 19 2017
What is Quickening– Your baby's first kick
Quickening refers to the sensation of the baby moving or kicking in the womb for the first time. Know more about the first movements of the fetus.
When you visit your doctor for confirming about your conception, you will see that the doctor forecasts the anticipated due date by adding 40 weeks to the first date of your last menstrual period. This is the indefinite delivery date and it can be preponed or delayed due to various other related factors. These 40 weeks are known as the gestation period when the fetus develops and grows as it gets ready to be born. In clinical terms the movement of the fetus is known as quickening. Quickening or the feeling of the baby kicking or moving in the womb is indisputably one of the most exciting stages of pregnancy, especially for the mother and her husband.
How quickening takes place?
In order to kick or move, the fetus needs to complete inevitable stages of development. All vital organs like the heart, the brain, spinal cord needs to evolve before quickening starts. On an average it is observed that these developments get accomplished by the 3rd week in the pregnancy period. Although it might be noted that this again can vary in different cases of pregnancy, where the development of the fetus can be a bit early or detained. However, the doctor is the best judge to decide and track the development of the fetus and suggest preventive measures to the mother. The bone structure or the skeleton generally gets developed by the 15th week of your pregnancy.
The quickening process
In many pregnancies it is observed that quickening may begin as early as the 8th week of the pregnancy. At this stage, the fetus in your womb measures just about half an inch. As you advance into the 16th week of your pregnancy, you will find that the inconsistent movements turn out to be more and more synchronized and get registered in a pattern in your ultrasound investigations.
Pregnant women are also found to experience the quickening during their 13th or 16th week of the gestation period. According to experts, this quickening can be felt anywhere between the 13th to 25th week. The ‘normalcy’ of the pregnancy can be determined by your doctor alone. The occurrence called quickening is often experienced as a fine quiver by many women for the first time, which is quite similar to the feeling of gas in the stomach. But you will be better familiar with this happening and recognize it as quickening, if you are pregnant for the second time. But first time mother might fail to perceive the same at the onset due to the subtleness of the phenomenon.
Why does quickening occur?
As the fetus develops, it tries to extend its growing arms and legs within the uterus. As a result the uterus expands, and you develop the womb projecting out. The fetus constantly tries to change its position and settle into a safe position. It also reciprocates to your emotional condition, lights, sounds or noises that happen in the outer world. In this process of response, it moves or kicks around. With the progress of the pregnancy, you will observe that there is a specific pattern in the movement of the fetus, that is, it goes to sleep and wakes up in a definite pattern. After 32 weeks of the pregnancy period you will notice that the occurrence of quickening diminishes. This is because; the fetus has grown enough to fit into your uterus that is expanded to its maximum limit. So now, the possibility for movement is naturally reduced.
While you experience the joys of pregnancy and the feel of the life slowly obtaining shape within you, it is advised that you keep following the guidance of your doctor and take all your tests at regular intervals. Post 28 weeks of your pregnancy, the doctor usually suggests mapping down a regular count of the fetal movement for a specific period of time each day, in order to establish the well- being of the fetus. On an average the fetus moves roughly ten times in a two hour period. If you find that the movement count is less, you need to consider counting out for the next two hours. If you still don’t find that the count is reasonable, you need to consult your doctor promptly.
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