Regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy, feeling your baby move is such a wonderful feeling. But, when you notice that your little one is calmer than usual, it’s easy to start biting your fingernails over what could be wrong.
If you’re wondering how to get baby to move, you’ll be happy to know that there are many tricks you can try, such as doing jumping jacks or hopping in one place, to get your munchkin to perk up and go back to their happy, kicking self.
However, if you’re not in the mood for some quick exercise, you can always try giving your precious belly bump a massage or even a gentle poke for your baby to respond to.
There are also foods that will energize both you and the baby, such as bananas, grapes, orange juice, and even chocolate if you have a sweet tooth.
Remember that as you approach your due date, your baby won’t be moving as much because she’s running out of room! But, if you ever feel as though something is not right (don’t be afraid to trust your motherly instinct), call your doctor ASAP.
16 Tips For How To Get Baby To Move
Feeling your little one move underneath your baby bump is such a wonderful sensation. But, what can you do if you feel like you haven’t felt those tiny movements for a while? Here are some tips for how to get baby to move.
1. Talk to your baby
By 18 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s ears will be developed enough to pick up on noises and sounds and they will only continue developing as you move further along in your pregnancy. Your munchkin will even be able to hear the sounds inside of your body, such as your heartbeat and the sound of your breathing.
The 25th week marks the point when babies start reacting to sounds and noises coming from the outside, even though they are not as clear as they are outside the uterus due to the amniotic fluid.
Of course, mom’s voice becomes the most special sound she’ll be able to hear and as you step into the third trimester and get closer to your due date, your little one will be able to identify it. In fact, a baby’s heart rate picks up when they hear the sound of mommy’s voice.
So, the next time you’d like to feel your baby’s wriggles, simply start talking to your belly and watch out for any activity.
2. Play some music
Voices aren’t the only sound your baby can enjoy while in utero! Try playing some music to see if your baby responds with a jab or two.
I’m sure you have also heard that playing classical music for your baby will increase her IQ. Unfortunately, there is no proof that this genre of music plays any role in a child’s intelligence, although you are certainly welcome to try.
And, since classical music is great for stress relief and relaxation, it will benefit you, too. You can, however, play whatever genre of music you like (just not too loudly) and stay alert to feel any movements.
3. Shine a light on your baby bump
Around week 16 of your pregnancy, your baby’s development has reached the stage where her eyes are able to recognize light despite the fact that they haven’t opened yet. She’ll reach this milestone around week 26 when her fully developed eyes will open for the first time.
Your baby will now be able to notice lights which is why you can try pointing a flashlight in the direction of your baby bump to get a response from your little one.
4. Take a relaxing bath
With the pressures of everyday life, you might ignore the signals your body is sending you to get some rest and relaxation. Plus, when you’re on the go all the time, it’s easy to not pay attention to your baby’s activity, leading you to believe that you haven’t felt her move all day.
To get in tune with your body again, get into a warm bath and try to relax – you can even do breathing exercises to help you be more mindful and in the moment.
When you’re at ease, it’s likely you’ll begin noticing your baby’s movements better. You can combine taking a bath with playing music or even singing if you feel comfortable with that – I’m sure your baby will love the sound of your voice, regardless of whether you’re a talented singer or not!
5. Rock in table pose
If you’ve ever practiced yoga, then you’ll definitely be familiar with the table pose. Even if you haven’t, you won’t find it a difficult position to get into. Simply get on your hands and knees, making sure that your hands are parallel with your shoulder and your knees are parallel with your hips.
Your back should be straight, so try not to bend it downward or arch it upward. When you’re ready, rock back and forth at a gentle speed.
This little exercise is not only great if you want to know how to get baby to move but it also helps when your munchkin is stuck in a position that’s very uncomfortable for you and you’d like to gently nudge her into a position that’s more comfortable.
6. Give your belly a poke or a jiggle
This is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to make baby move. Gently poke or jiggle your belly to get your baby’s attention – she’ll probably poke you right back with her tiny foot, so it can turn into a little game.
Of course, you should be gentle but don’t worry about accidentally harming your baby. She is well-protected in your womb so a tiny poke to check if she’s okay is just fine.
7. Try a massage
A belly massage is a great way to get baby to move because she’ll respond to the feeling of your hands softly rubbing your belly. But, there are other benefits to massaging your belly, as well.
It helps with aches and pains, improves the circulation of blood to your abdomen, and helps you sleep better. A massage is a wonderful way to unwind after a long day – you can even use a moisturizer to hydrate your skin and make it easier for your hands to move across your belly.
Keep in mind that you should avoid massaging your belly for the first 3 months of your pregnancy because it could increase your feelings of nausea – something you’d definitely like to avoid.
8. Eat something spicy
The idea that eating spicy food will cause premature labor or somehow harm your baby is an old wives’ tale so if you’re a fan of hot foods, feel free to keep eating all your spicy favorites.
Also, you can’t deny the countless stories of moms from all over the world who have experienced strong kicking and movement after eating something spicy, so why not give it a try!
However, your little one might not be reacting to the spiciness of your tacos, but to their high carbohydrate content. Doctors say that foods that are high in carbohydrates increase the level of sugar in your and your baby’s blood, which makes the baby more energetic.
There’s another benefit to eating different kinds of food during pregnancy. A 2019 study says that the flavor of food ingested by the mother is transferred to the amniotic fluid, exposing the unborn baby to different flavors even before birth.
This might also cause your little one to have a preference for these foods when they grow older, which is another reason to make sure your pregnancy diet is varied and nutritious.
If you’re not used to eating spicy food, though, you might want to think twice before choosing this method. When you’re in your second and third trimester, hot food can give you heartburn, gas, and even frequent bowel movements, so tread carefully.
9. Eat something sugary and sweet
Everyone needs to indulge in a sugary treat from time to time, especially pregnant women. And a sweet treat can have a similar effect on your baby’s activity as a spicy meal does – it raises your blood sugar levels, and the blood sugar levels of your baby, giving both of you an energy boost.
So, what are you waiting for? Open that pack of cookies (or make some of your own) or eat some chocolate. Before you know it, your little one will excitedly be jabbing you in the ribs and you’ll be thinking of ways to calm her down.
However, keep an eye on your daily sugar intake to minimize the risk of getting gestational diabetes, and remember that it’s better to eat fruit when you’re craving something sweet, although the occasional indulgence won’t hurt.
10. Eat bananas
I understand that there are moms with various dietary preferences and limitations, and that not every woman wants to eat sweets. If you belong to this category (props to you mama!) then I have a great alternative for you – bananas.
Bananas do contain sugar, which is enough to help both you and your baby perk up but they also include other important nutrients. Protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and folate can all be found in bananas, so feel free to eat away.
Another fruit that is said to energize babies in the womb is grapes. They are also filled with important vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs for her development and well-being.
11. Drink a glass of orange juice
A glass of cold OJ is such a refreshing treat – one that can spike your baby’s energy levels, too!
The reason lies not only in the sugar content of orange juice, which certainly helps the baby move, but also in the temperature. If you drink your OJ cold, the temperature will encourage your baby to stir and kick.
A lot of moms rely on drinking a glass of orange juice before the ultrasound appointment where they’re supposed to find out the baby’s gender, hoping that this will prevent the baby from “hiding”.
12. Quick exercise
There’s nothing better to get that baby moving than a little bit of exercise. This is another trick used by ultrasound techs when they can’t get a good view of the baby as it’s quick and easy to do. You might choose to jog on the spot or hop in one place for a minute or so or even try doing a couple of jumping jacks.
After you’re done, sit down, catch your breath, and focus on feeling the movement of your baby in your belly. Some moms like to place a remote control on their belly and watch as it moves up and down due to the baby’s activity. She should be fairly active as a result of your exercise.
13. Get horizontal
Lying down might sound counterintuitive, especially since the above piece of advice recommends doing quick physical activity to get your baby moving. However, your little one might actually be sleeping through the day because she finds your movement very soothing – to her, it’s like being rocked to sleep.
But, when you lie down and stop moving, your baby might wake up and be intrigued by this change of pace. It’s not uncommon for many unborn babies to be very active in the late evening hours when you’re trying to sleep, which is very unfortunate for your sleep schedule!
If you’re worried about your baby’s lack of activity during the day, remember that she might actually be asleep. Once you go to bed, however, it may be showtime!
14. Try getting an adrenaline rush
I’m not talking about going bungee jumping or jumping out of airplanes here – you can do that after the baby is out – but rather an activity that makes you slightly nervous or anxious. Think along the lines of watching a scary movie that will get your heart rate pumping or a fast-paced action movie with plenty of suspense.
This little shot of excitement will travel down to your baby, too, and she’ll be happily kicking away in your belly in no time.
15. Eat peanut butter
Unless you’re allergic, eating peanut butter is a perfectly healthy way to get your munchkin to move. Spread it on toast and add a few banana slices for extra deliciousness but eating it off a spoon is perfectly fine, too.
Peanuts (and peanut butter) contain folate which is very important for the healthy development of your child, especially of the brain and spinal cord. It’s also a terrific source of healthy fats that your baby needs to gain weight in utero.
In addition, folate can minimize the risk of your baby being born with serious birth defects, so that’s another reason to eat a slice of toast with peanut butter every day.
16. Make a pregnancy smoothie
Still wondering how to get baby to move? How about a delicious pregnancy smoothie?
Many of us are guilty of skipping the most important meal of the day – breakfast – and replacing it with a bagel or a granola bar that does nothing more than ease your hunger for an hour or two.
A smoothie can get your baby to move because of its sugary content and the cool temperature. The best part, however, is that you can have a smoothie for breakfast every day, starting off your morning with a nutritious drink that will keep you and your baby healthy.
When making a smoothie, you can add a number of healthy ingredients such as spinach, oranges, mangoes, and lemon. Feel free to get creative!
When Will I Feel My Baby Move?
The sensation of your unborn baby moving inside of your tummy is one of the most magical parts of pregnancy and one that many pregnant women look forward to the most. In addition to knowing how to get baby to move, you’re probably anxious to know when you will start feeling movement during pregnancy.
For first-time moms, you’ll probably feel the first movements, also known as quickening, as you get closer to the 25th week of your pregnancy. But, it’s normal to start feeling the baby’s movements anywhere between weeks 16 and 25.
At first, the fetal movement feels like butterflies which is why it’s more difficult to tell the difference between the baby’s movement and gas in your first pregnancy. During the second or even the third time around, it’s much easier for women to know when their baby is moving and trying to change positions.
As your pregnancy progresses in the second trimester, those little flutters turn into little kicks as your baby gets bigger and stronger. You’ll also notice that your little munchkin switches between being more and less active during the day. Unfortunately, babies tend to be most energetic at night between the hours of 9 PM and 1 AM.
In the third trimester, you might be able to see the baby kicking and moving underneath your belly. You might also feel a twitching sensation, which is actually your baby’s hiccups.
Some pregnant women like to keep an hourly or daily kick count to make sure the baby is developing healthily but your doctor can tell you more about this method and whether or not you should count your baby’s jabs and wriggles in the first place.
It’s not uncommon to read that a baby should move at least 10 times in the span of two hours. However, there are experts who are against such formal measuring models as it’s entirely possible for a baby to be generally more or less active, so they encourage mothers to familiarize themselves with their baby’s movement patterns.
This way, you’ll be able to know what’s normal for your baby and recognize when there is a change in activity.
What To Do If Your Baby Isn’t Moving
When you’re used to feeling your little one moving and kicking all day, every day, it can be disconcerting to realize that you haven’t felt the baby move for a few hours – enough to send you into a state of panic.
If this happens, try to stay calm. It’s entirely possible that the baby was moving but you were just too distracted to notice. Sit down and focus on the sensations in your belly, and try to see if you can feel any movement. There’s a chance that the baby has shifted into a position that makes it harder for you to feel the baby’s kicks.
You can also try one of the above-mentioned ways to get the baby to move and see whether that works. After a few hours, if you’re still worried about your baby’s lack of movement or if you haven’t counted at least 10 movements in 2 hours, get in touch with your doctor.
It’s important to note that it’s normal to feel less movement in the third trimester, especially after the 32nd week of your pregnancy. That’s because she has less room in your belly now to kick and move around.
However, there are certain conditions that could cause your baby to move less, such as the nuchal cord, which happens when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck.
Another reason for feeling less movement is if the placenta is positioned at the front of your uterus. In this instance, it will be more difficult to feel your baby girl or boy move in general. Women who are very overweight might also not feel their baby’s kicks as strongly.
Another possible cause of a decrease in your baby’s activity is low amniotic fluid, a condition with symptoms that might go unnoticed by the mother, making it necessary to see your doctor regularly and not miss any appointments.
But, as you approach your due date, it’s normal for some women to feel their baby moving in utero much more than usual, leading them to believe that they’ll give birth soon. However, this is not generally a sign of labor.
How To Get Baby To Move Into A Different Position
When your baby gets big enough, she might move into a position that is really uncomfortable for you. Although any of the above tricks might encourage her to change positions, there’s a chance she might just give you a little kick and continue lounging in the same spot.
To get your baby to move into a position that’s more comfortable for you, try doing a few squats against the wall.
If you have an exercise ball, you can sit on it and move your hips in a rotating motion. Or, as an alternative, you can sit down, cross your legs, and gently tilt your pelvis forward.
Now that you know how to get baby to move when you haven’t been feeling her energetic jabs all day, I hope you’re a little more at ease. Don’t forget that it’s entirely normal for the baby not to be so active during the day, as she likely finds your movements soothing, like being rocked until she dozes off.
But, when you lie down and get ready to sleep, your baby might want to get the party started, which is good preparation for the sleepless nights that await you a few months down the line.
You can also rely on high carb foods and sugar to get your baby to move but if you are very careful with your diet, you can eat grapes, bananas, and even peanut butter for an energy boost. A cold glass of orange juice can be helpful, too, but you can try water if you don’t drink juice.
Exercise or a massage will also do the trick but make sure to be gentle.
In case you have any concerns, immediately call your health care provider so they can take you in for an examination and check the baby’s heartbeat.
Spahn, Joanne M et al. “Influence of maternal diet on flavor transfer to amniotic fluid and breast milk and children’s responses: a systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 109,Suppl_7 (2019): 1003S-1026S.
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