My baby’s not kicking — should I be worried?

Your baby’s kicks are a vital sign that he’s doing well…learn what to look out for with this handy guide.


Every mother will remember exactly the exciting and emotional moment when she felt her baby’s first kicks in utero. Fact is, this is also a crucial sign that your baby’s doing fine in the run-up to the birth. You should start feeling the kicks — called quickening — at around weeks 20 to 22 or about four months into your pregnancy. The kicks will start sooner, at around week 18, for subsequent pregnancies.

Bubba’s kicks will become more apparent in the period leading to the last month of your pregnancy. SmartParents expert Dr Christopher Chong, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital, explains that your baby’s movements may decrease in strength but not frequency as the uterus gets more and more crowded.

“Generally, obese patients do not feel as many or [as] strong movements as [their] slimmer [counterparts].”

While your little one’s kicks — in terms of the frequency, feeling and force — are unique to your baby, you could also be influencing their movements, too. Dr Chong notes, “Generally, obese patients do not feel as many or [as] strong movements as [their] slimmer [counterparts].” He says mothers with weaker abdominal muscles are more likely to be able to see the kicks, in addition to feeling them. If your baby feels less active, he offers several reasons:

1) Consumption of antihistamines If you are on medication that has sedative effects (makes you feel drowsy), it will likely affect baby’s movements in the womb, too.

2) You are feeling unwell If you’re feeling depressed or stressed, it could also reduce your baby’s movements. Seek medical help immediately.

3) Organ or anatomical issues There could be an issue with your child’s development if the decline in your baby’s kicks persists ― consult your gynaecologist.

4) Lack of fluid in the water bag Your growing foetus is constantly swishing in the amniotic fluids inside the womb, so its movements and development may be compromised by the lack of fluids. Seek medical help immediately.

What’s the optimum number of kicks you should be experiencing? Click to find out…