Your pregnancy and baby guide
Your baby's movements
Open all pages about Your pregnancy and baby guide
- Secrets to success
- Am I pregnant?
- Early days
- Week by week
- Preparing for the birth
- Work out your due date
- Tests scans and checks
- Your pregnancy (antenatal) care
- Your health and wellbeing
- Existing health problems
- Common pregnancy ailments
- Pregnancy-induced conditions
Labour and birth
- The start of labour
- The birth
- Emotions and worries
- Premature babies
- How to breastfeed
- Breastfeeding problems
- Lifestyle and breastfeeding
- Bottle feeding
- Newborn screening tests
- Newborn essentials
- New parents
- New mums
- Twins and multiples
Babies and toddlers
- Weaning and solid foods
- Baby health and care
- Spotting signs of serious illness
- Reflux in babies
- How to take a baby's temperature
- Reducing the risk of SIDS
- Treating a high temperature
- Sleep problems in children
- Coughs, colds and ear infections
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Infectious illnesses
- Children's medicines
- Looking after a sick child
- Serious conditions and special needs
- Constipation in young children
- Your baby's height and weight
- Baby health and development reviews
- Leg and foot problems in children
- Learning, play and behaviour
- Safety and accidents
You should start to feel your baby move between around 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. If this is your first baby, you might not feel movements until after 20 weeks.
The movements can feel like a gentle swirling or fluttering. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel kicks and jerky movements.
If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, tell your midwife. They'll check your baby's heartbeat and movements.
You should feel your baby move right up to and during labour.
How often should my baby move?
There's no set number of movements you should feel each day – every baby is different.
The important thing is to get to know your baby's usual movements from day to day.
Non-urgent advice: Call your midwife or maternity unit straight away if:
- your baby is moving less than usual
- you cannot feel your baby moving any more
They'll need to check your baby's movements and heartbeat. Do not wait until the next day – call straight away, even if it's the middle of the night.
Do not use a home doppler (heartbeat listening kit) to try to check the baby's heartbeat yourself. This is not a reliable way to check your baby's health – even if you hear a heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.
Why are my baby's movements important?
If your baby is not well, they will not be as active as usual, which means less movement can be a sign of infection or another problem.
The sooner this is found out the better, so you and your baby can be given the right treatment and care. This could save your baby's life.
Find out more
You can find the Kicks Count app in the NHS apps library.
- Feeling your baby move is a sign they are well (PDF, 294kb) – a leaflet from the charity Tommy's and NHS England
- Your baby's movements (PDF, 131kb) – a leaflet from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
Find out the signs that labour may be starting.
Page last reviewed: 04/10/2019
Next review due: 04/10/2022