When I was pregnant with my first child, I had no idea what to expect. Seriously, there is no preparing you for what it feels like to have this entirely separate being move about in your belly, but by the time you have your second child, you're ready. You know what it feels like, and I at least felt it a lot earlier. Turns out, I'm not alone. In fact, a lot of women can and want to feel the baby kick as soon as possible. So, how early can you feel the baby move in a second pregnancy?
There's an acute awareness that comes with subsequent pregnancies that changes a woman's perception of what is happening inside her body. For example, you might be able to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and contractions leading to labor a little bit better. You might recognize morning sickness for what it is before you even take a pregnancy test. And it's no different for fetal movement. Why is that? According to an article published in StatPearls, it's all about the ability to categorize what you're feeling.
The article noted, "A multiparous (pregnant for at least the second time) woman will usually notice these gentle fluttering movements of the fetus at an earlier gestation than a primiparous (first pregnancy) woman. A multip might feel movements as early as 16 weeks whereas a primip might not feel anything until 20 to 22 weeks." According to the study, you become innately more sensitive to the markers of pregnancy during your second pregnancy and beyond.
According to New Kids Center, you might feel your baby move as early as between weeks 13 and 16 of pregnancy, but that's not very common for first-time moms. They normally feel their babies move between weeks 18 and 20. It's actually really important to take note of when and how you begin to feel your baby move, as perceived fetal movement is really important. Decreased movements can suggest a negative pregnancy outcome or risk factors like placenta previa, noted Women and Birth.
However, there are some physiological factors that might come into play for women who can't feel their baby's movements as strongly as they should, according to Obstetrics and Gynecologic Survey. They might be a tilted uterus, fetal position, obesity of the mother, and incorrect gestational age.
When do you feel your baby move during your second pregnancy if all is normal? I spoke with some friends who've had multiple pregnancies, and we all pretty much said the same thing. Certified doula Rebekah Borucki, mother of five, tells Romper, "It was much easier to recognize movement in my second pregnancy, and it happened much earlier — unmistakeable kicks at 17 to 18 weeks. I’m sure I felt them in the first pregnancy, but didn’t know what they were."
Donovan Richter, 34, and a parent of three tells Romper, "I felt the twins at about 14 weeks. It started out as a series of fluttering feelings before it metastasized into a full-blown power play for dominance every hour in my uterus by week 20. With Minnie, I didn't know what I was feeling until the OB-GYN pointed it out. I thought it was gas."
I vividly remember the first feelings of movement in my second pregnancy. It was very much a "well there you are, tiny human" moment. I was about 16 weeks pregnant and sitting down after a long stint of Christmas shopping at the Union Square Holiday Market. I took in a long sip of spiced cider, and my daughter must've rolled over in bliss. I texted my husband immediately to tell him I'd felt her (though I thought she was a he at the time) and he was gobsmacked that I could sense her so early.
While it's different for everyone, one note seems to ring true — it will likely happen a lot earlier the second time around (or at least you'll understand what it is that you're feeling a lot sooner). Soak up those early rolls before they turn into painful rib jabs, because you'll feel those too well.
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