Baby backflips: What to expect when baby starts to kick [guide]

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What to expect when baby starts to kick: baby foot pregnant belly

The first little flutter when you feel your baby move inside you is an incredible and somewhat surreal experience. And a much more enjoyable validation that you are growing a little one inside you than morning sickness or heartburn.

But many mums, especially first-time mums (FTM’s) who have nothing to compare it to, have questions. And rightfully so. What will it feel like? When will I start to feel them? I can’t feel anything, should I be worried?

As with many parts of pregnancy and parenting, a manual would be super handy but unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules. The old “every pregnancy is different” comes in to play with some bubs all about the acrobatics, while others are just enjoying a little r&r on the inside.

Here is a rough guide to what to expect when baby starts to kick.

All the feels


First time flutter

The first movements are often described as butterflies. A light flutter in your tummy that could be mistaken for feeling nervous or hungry, but when you recognise them they are truely magical moments that fill you with love.

First-time mums (FTM’s) sometimes don’t feel or not recognise these movements until later.

Usually felt: between 16-18 weeks. 


When you feel a jerking movement at regular intervals, yes you babe may be having a dance party, but more likely it’s a case of the hiccups. How cute!

Usually felt: from 24 weeks.


Your bub is a talented one and doing somersaults and rolling is his/her favourite trick! These movements are far less delicate than the flutters. They can also be in response to loud sounds or light.

Usually felt: from 28 weeks.

Mini Yogi

Mum, you’re cramping my style! As your baby grows, space becomes limited so your mini yogi will likely try to stretch out. These can often be seen as well as felt so why not share this wondrous moment with your partner.

Usually felt: from 32 weeks.

Kung fu

You can’t miss these. The ones that make you stop in your tracks or double over. As baby grows, there is less room for somersaults and rolling, so a quick jab or kick to the ribs to definitely let you know they are still in there.

Usually felt: 36-40 weeks.

Positions please

Towards the business end, your little one will take up their final position, usually head down. Many mums-to-be say they feel “pressure” much lower in their tummy and pelvis.

Usually felt: from 36 weeks.


Early movements, known as quickening, will be every now and then. Sometimes you will notice them, sometimes you won’t. But as your bub (and your bump!) grows, usually by the end of the second trimester the kicks should grow stronger and more frequent.

There are certain times of the day you may feel more activity as baby alternates between alertness and sleep. Just for your convenience, they are usually most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. This surge in activity is due to your changing blood sugar levels.

Should I be concerned?

As we said earlier, there is no set number or “normal” pattern of movements that your baby will adhere to. Bub dances to the beat of their own drum. The main thing is to take notice of your baby’s pattern and be aware if something is out of the ordinary.

The general guideline for when to contact your GP or OB:

  • If you haven’t felt any movement by 24 weeks.
  • If you are over 28 weeks gestation and don’t feel 10 or more separate movements within two hours.
  • There’s a big decrease in movements or a gradual decrease over several days that is not your baby’s usual pattern.

Remember, if in doubt, ask your healthcare professional. That’s what they are there for.

Take each movement in and enjoy the ride because believe it or not, you will end up missing them, even the kicks.

And if you’ve had your baby and still feel it kick you can rad all about phantom kicks here.


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