Feeling your baby move is one of the most tangible and exciting perks of being pregnant. While much of your pregnancy feels like you're lugging around a watermelon all day and always looking for a comfortable position to sleep in at night, when you feel your baby move, it's a reminder that there's a real, beautiful life in there. And soon enough, you'll meet them at the end of your pregnancy journey. If you're looking for one of those thumps in the ribs, here's what to eat to make your baby move, because you might want to start counting kicks.
Luckily, you don't have to go any further than your local grocery store to find some options that will make your baby move, even kick — all you need is something sweet or cold. Even before their limbs are strong enough to give you a hearty kick, babies in utero respond to sweet treats or cold drinks with flips or flutters. Women typically feel their baby move for the first time at some point during week 16 to 25, per WebMD. If this is your first pregnancy, you'll likely feel those initial butterflies closer to week 25, while you might even feel your fetus' first movements as early as week 13 if this is your second or third pregnancy.
But just because you want to feel your baby kick doesn't mean you should be munching on cookies or downing sweet soda 24/7. Instead, What to Expect suggested health snacks like cheese and crackers, greek yogurt, or fruit and nuts. These foods won't put you on the doctor's watch list for gestational diabetes, but they will boost your blood sugar enough to get your baby moving around in there.
There are other ways you can kick start your baby's kicks that don't involve food. Poking or jiggling your baby bump can get your baby moving. Also, doing a few jumping jacks and then sitting down is another trick that sometimes works, according to What to Expect. Playing loud music or even shining a flashlight at your bump (midway through your pregnancy the fetus will begin to be able to recognize light and dark) can get her wiggling, too.
By week 28, your baby's patterns of alertness and rest will start to be more defined, and this is the point at which doctors recommend you start monitoring your baby's kicks. Babies are often most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., according to WebMd, because of changes in your blood sugar, so this is a good time to start keeping track of how often your baby is kicking.
Also known as fetal movement counting, kick counts can help ensure your baby is developing normally. A bulletin published by the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in Contemporary OB-GYN states, "10 distinct movements in a period of up to 2 continuous or interrupted hours is considered reassuring."
If you count for two hours and don't feel 10 kicks, you can repeat the test in another two hour period. If you still don't feel your baby kick as often as is recommended, it's a good reason to call your doctor for advice. In many cases, it's normal for your baby to have slower periods throughout the day, in which case you can try some treats mentioned above to get them moving, but it's always better to be on the safe side if you think your baby is moving less than usual or not at all.
Brown, Haywood L. (2014) ACOG Practice Bulletin Number 145: Antepartum Fetal Surveillance. Contemporary OB-GYN, https://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/obstetrics-gynecology-womens-health/acog-guidelines-glance-antepartum-fetal-surveillance/page/0/1
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.