What your baby's movements feel like
The movements can feel like a gentle swirling or fluttering. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel kicks and jerky movements.
When to call your midwife or maternity unit
Call your midwife or maternity unit straight away if:
- your baby is moving less than usual
- you cannot feel your baby moving any more
- there is a change to your baby's usual pattern of movements
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.
How often should your baby move?
There's no set number of movements you should feel each day – every baby is different.
You do not need to count the number of kicks or movements you feel each day.
The important thing is to get to know your baby's usual movements from day to day.
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 your baby's movements are important
If your baby is not well, they will not be as active as usual. This 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.
Can your baby move too much
It's not likely your baby can move too much. The important thing is to be aware of your baby's usual pattern of movements.
Any changes to this pattern of movements should be checked by a midwife or doctor.
Find out more
- Feeling your baby move is a sign they are well (PDF, 603kb) – a leaflet from the charity Tommy's and NHS England
- Your baby's movements (PDF, 342kb) – a leaflet from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
Find out the signs that labour may be starting.