Motherhood is one of life’s finest gifts. It is exhilarating to be with a child and to embark on a promising journey to nurture, love, grow and connect with the tiny human being growing inside you. In that period, every mother is head over heels in anticipation. Many overly obsess on picking out the perfect name, what healthy foods to eat, and when they will feel their baby’s first kicks.
Baby kicks are one of the sure signs that the baby is healthy and developing soundly. Typically baby movements can be felt as from the 20th week of pregnancy for a majority of newly expectant mothers – including plus size women.
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A Tingling Sensation
Many mothers attest to feeling a tingling belly sensation now and again. Some even describe it as butterflies or small pulses in their stomach. This tends to occur as from the 16th week and is usually mistaken for gas, weariness or hunger. It takes a while before mothers put two and two together and realize these butterflies are actually baby kicks.
Newly pregnant mothers are usually at a loss with this. Being new to the entire pregnancy process, they don’t quite know what to look for than an actual kick in their bellies. Second-time expectant mothers and those in their third, fourth, fifth or further pregnancy can quite easily discern these periodical sensations to be baby kicks. They most certainly have been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
This explains why for this group of women, they can feel their babies move as early as the 14th week! They know exactly what to look for and how baby movements tend to feel in the very early stages.
These movements become more and more ascertainable and stronger as the weeks go by. By the 26th to 28th week, these movements are most intense. There is hardly any pain when they kick. Eventually, you may feel some pressure on your bladder as they toss and turn, which is normal as the baby is also increasing in size.
As from the 28th week till delivery, the number of kicks and visible or discernable baby movements may tend to decrease. This is because as the foetus enlarges, there remains little to no room to kick around and play in, and this is okay. The decrease is in no way an indication that your baby is unwell or at risk. Constant checks as you near delivery will be the safest option to ensure all is well and stays well until delivery.
When Do Babies Start Kicking And Moving?
There are 3 trimesters when it comes to foetus growth and development namely the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters. During these stages, the foetus undergoes several changes where body definition and increase in mass are key outcomes.
Baby kicks are typically experienced later on in the pregnancy as from the late stages of the second trimester into the third trimester. It is at this point that the foetus has developed defined limbs and sufficient mass to be able to move in a discernible manner. Interestingly, even before the third-trimester butterfly sensations and actual kicks, your baby was moving, all the while. This biological process is true for both plus size and regular-sized women.
What affects Baby Movements?
Extensive research on the subject asserts that there are a handful of factors that affect the timeframe when an expectant mother can feel her baby movements. One of these includes whether or not it is the mother’s first-time pregnancy. However, excluding the harmless naivety of most new mothers when it comes to ascertaining their baby’s movement, these 3 primary factors have great implications for your pregnancy and delivery.
1. Body Weight
Differences in body mass greatly impact the experiences, challenges and at times outcomes when it comes to pregnancy and delivery. The effects of increased body weight before or during the pregnancy term are more pronounced in plus size women as compared to their small-bodied counterparts. Therefore, additional steps and precaution should be taken when it comes to plus size pregnancy.
How body weight affects your baby’s wellbeing and movements
If you are plus size, there is a greater chance than not that you have considerable fat deposits around your midsection. These fat deposits form around your uterus thus restricting the expansion and stretching of the same in later pregnancy stages. Generally, there are two possible outcomes in this situation.
- A higher likelihood of delivering a significantly small baby or at worst a stillbirth
- A higher chance of preterm complications such as preterm labour, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes for the mother.
Your starting weight is of crucial importance. Too much fat is detrimental to both the mother’s and baby’s health. But what is more hazardous is the excessive weight gain during pregnancy. This is where the vast majority of maternal problems lie.
If you are starting your pregnancy being overweight, you do not need to gain as much weight as other regular-sized pregnant women are advised to. Quite conversely, you should work on either maintaining your body weight or if advised by your doctor or midwife, gain very little additional pounds to sustain the pregnancy.
Normally, women are advised to gain 25 to 30 pounds during their 9 months of pregnancy. The weight gain should not be too sudden but gradual and paced so that it does not in any way interfere with the development of the foetus. Some studies have even indicated that a pregnant woman only needs an additional 300 calories per day to nourish her body and that of her foetus. She does not need to eat that much or gain all the unnecessary weight to have a bouncing baby girl or boy, at the end of her term.
When it comes to baby movement, regulating how much weight you gain during pregnancy is an absolute necessity. Having an excessively large belly laden with fat will impair how much baby movement you can discern when your baby moves. This robs you of the precious opportunity to emotionally connect with them as they grow in you.
Without this vital sign (discernable baby kicks) it will be difficult to monitor the wellbeing of your baby during pregnancy unless of course, you can frequently access a well-staffed and equipped maternal/ labour facility. Half of the time you probably will be wondering, ‘what’s going on in there?’
Being overly worked up because you do not know how to tell if your baby is okay, may lead to stress, and lack of sleep among other vices which may ultimately affect your pregnancy.
2. Diet and Nutrition
Another closely related factor to weight gain during pregnancy is your diet. A well-nourished foetus will be duly active and will move and kick around when awake. An underfed foetus who continually is deprived of vital nutrients and minerals because of the mother’s diet will not move as frequently and their kicks will be hardly discernible.
Pregnant plus size women should always focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods to help grow their babies. An indulgence in regular fast foods and sweet treats may cost you. Despite the regular and constant cravings that are pertinent to the pregnancy phase, plus size women should take time to carefully select, plan and prepare their meals. Furthermore, they should also eat adequate portions of the same.
When it comes to what constitutes the ‘adequate portion’ a lot of misconceptions continue to be advanced. The most popular one when it comes to diet and nutrition is that you should eat for two. What this essentially means is that women should double their intake of food because there is a growing child in their wombs. This cannot be further from the truth. Excessive feeding leads to a large chunk of the food being stored as fat. Fat as we are now are well aware, has adverse effects when it comes to pregnancies.
Being consistent with eating the right portions and adjusting your meal size as your baby grows, (as advised by your doctor), will naturally help you gain the needed weight. For plus size women, this is of critical importance. Being plus size will mandate that you exercise stringent dietary control and caution to ensure your baby gets all the needed nutrients without you packing on more pounds!
3. The Position of your Placenta
Due to the variance in physique and genes, some women tend to have lower-lying placentas. A placenta that continues to be in this low lying stage not only poses a great threat to the delivery process but also will tend to muffle out any baby kicks around that area.
Off course experiences vary from woman to woman. A plus size woman may have both a poor diet and a low located placenta. This will uniquely influence how she carries her pregnancy to full term and also her delivery process. This will be different from another plus size woman who maintains a healthy diet and has a highly positioned placenta or another who has a great diet and a lowly placed placenta. The possibilities are endless and equally the diverging degrees of ease or complication when it comes to pregnancy and delivery.
How Much Baby Movement Should I be Having?
As a safety precaution, it is crucial to always keep track of your baby’s movement. The lack of movement or irregular patterns of movement may be indications that your baby’s health is failing. Being keen on how and when your baby moves may just be what will save you or your baby from the agonies of stillbirth, miscarriages or further related complications. Always seek immediate attention when you notice anything odd or off. It’s not over-reacting! It’s just taking due precaution and care of your loved one.
The suggested number of kicks you should feel in a 2-hour duration range from 6- 10 kicks. During a normal day, a healthy growing baby would typically be active. What constitutes normalcy is dependent on a range of factors on your end and also on your baby’s end.
Obviously, by the time you are counting the number of kicks in your belly, you should be attuned to the nitty-gritty particulars of your baby’s development process. Things to do wihb when your baby sleeps, when they are wide awake, when they are most active and why. should not be a mystery to you. This enables you to know when to conduct your mini-test which enhances the accuracy of your results.
We can agree that it would be pointless to undertake a kick- count, when your baby is asleep. You will record hardly any movements. Likewise, it would be inaccurate to take the count when your baby is super active right after you have just taken a meal or some caffeine. Knowledge is key to correctly ascertain the number of kicks.
How to Take an Accurate Kick Count
1. Lay on your side on a flat surface, preferably your bed. This will help increase the blood flow to your baby. Avoid laying on your belly or back as these positions are not healthy for your unborn baby as they restrict baby movement and blood flow to your baby.
2. Ensure you are comfortable and peaceful
3. Begin to record every kick you feel – was it strong or weak and how long it takes between kicks.
4. You can engage in some light activity such as reading or listening to your soothing jams. Anything will do but be focused on the counting process.
Every soon to be mum would love to feel the fleeting kicks of her unborn child. Your baby’s movement doesn’t only give you vital information on the wellbeing of your child but also helps you develop a strong bond and connection. Baby movements are affected by a range of factors, especially when it comes to plus size women. Being knowledgeable and precautious on what and how these factors positively and negatively affect your pregnancy term, will help you not only enjoy the thrill of feeling your baby move but also deliver a healthy child.
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