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Q&A: What's the significance of fetal movement?

Fetal movement is a sign of fetal well-being. A sick baby doesn’t move that much—he or she uses all energy just to keep growing. Movements will change over time, however, and a woman who thinks all is well based on consistency will be worried. After about 18 weeks or so (sometimes earlier, sometimes later), a woman will feel little flutterings in her lower abdomen, like little “butterflies.” The old term for this is “quickening.” As the baby gets bigger, these movements get stronger and more organized, and the discrete kicks and jabs are felt. After about 32-34 weeks, when there’s less room for the baby, the movements are often squirming-like movements, which happen just as often, but this change in the quality of the movement will give a woman worries. Whether you feel the movement toward your back, front, or side is unimportant.

If you’re still worried, you still can tell well-being by the actual number of movements, not so much the types of movements. A very reassuring test is the “baby-count” method: Lay down on your left side twenty minutes after eating and see how long it takes the baby to move 10 times. If it takes longer than four hours, say the text books, call your doctor. In my practice, I say if this method takes longer than one hour, I want to know. And usually, the baby will push 10 moves in less than twenty minutes!

And they say sugar loads don’t make children hyper…

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