The National Parenting Center

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Fetal Movement

Why is it so important that your unborn baby be active? You should begin to feel some fetal movement as early as 16 weeks pregnant. The exact timing will vary depending on the individual.

When the baby becomes viable then your perception of the quality of the fetal movement becomes very important. This is your baby’s way of talking to you. For the most part an active fetus is a very good sign that every thing is going well inside the uterus. There are some rare exceptions to this rule.

If you feel the baby moving less than his/her usual amount then you should contact your doctor immediately, since this can be an early warning that the baby is experiencing fetal distress. Your physician then may want to do a Non-Stress test. This is simply hooking you and the baby up to an external fetal monitor to evaluate the baby’s status. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound to do what is called a biophysical profile on your baby. This gives yet more important information on your baby’s current condition.

It’s important to remember that every baby is different. Do not compare the way the baby moves to that of others or even to a prior pregnancy.

Paying attention to how your baby moves in-utero is a simple easy way for you to keep tabs on your little one.

Peter Weiss is a Beverly Hills-based obstetrician/gynecologist and leading advocate for mother’s-to-be. A member of the Royal Society of Medicine and an assictant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Weiss’ writing have appeared in numerous parenting publications nationwide.

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