A foetus generally spends most of its time sleeping, much like a newborn baby. This is only one of the numerous similarities that newborns and foetuses share. A foetus at 32 weeks is known to be developed enough to be able to listen to sounds, have thoughts and memories, and move around. They also spend nearly 90 to 95% of the time sleeping. Foetuses can hit REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleeping, which is considered the deep sleep stage in most biological lifeforms. During this period, a foetus mimics the REM patterns of an adult by moving its eyes back and forth at a rapid pace. Some scientists believe that a foetus may be developed enough to even dream at this stage.
What Are Normal Foetal Movements?
It is estimated that at seven-months a foetus that sleeps 95% of the time also moves nearly 50 times every hour. This movement includes those you can feel, like kicking and stretching, as well as those you can’t, like blinking. It is estimated that every baby has unique movements by this period. This makes it hard to say if one type of movement is bad or good.
Doctors usually test the responses and heart rate of a foetus via an ultrasound to ensure the baby’s health. The closer a pregnant woman gets to the date of delivery, the more unique are the kinds of movement. Normal foetal movements are hard to define due to the individuality of the foetus, but a fair estimate is that every foetus stretches their joints, hiccups, blinks, burps, and kicks. If you feel a movement that is not normal, consult a paediatrician for more detailed explanations about baby movements and take his opinion on the particular movement that had you worried.
Is it Okay If the Baby Moves at Night During Pregnancy
Studies conducted by the American Pregnancy Association show that some babies are nocturnal, and due to that, are more active at night. You may feel a particularly hard kick if the baby is riled up about something. This can be due to a nightmare, discomfort, or lack of space for the baby to stretch. Doctors believe that as the foetus grows, it becomes more aware of its surroundings and then begins to resemble a newborn, both physically and psychologically. A baby active in the womb at night is not considered dangerous.
Why Do Babies Kick or Move in the Womb at Night
The activity of the baby at night could be caused by your inactivity at night. During the day your movements can have an effect similar to that of a crib that rocks the baby to sleep. Inactivity could spark the foetus into a sense of alertness.
Psychology Today estimates that a baby could be alert and move around at night due to simple reasons like what you had for dinner or a late-night snack or just wanting to hear the mother speak. Studies by the same institute have shown that a foetus at the 7-month gestation period begins to react positively and calm down on hearing the mothers voice.
Tips For Would Be Mothers Regarding Foetal Movements At Night
A baby kicking or moving excessively at night can be very uncomfortable for the mother. Here are a few tips to help settle them down:
Sing to the foetus
Rather than playing music to the foetus sing to it. Studies from The American Pregnancy Association prove that a mother’s voice helps calm the foetus down. This is why singing a lullaby can help calm down the foetus and put it to sleep.
Mimic night routines during the day
Mimicking your nightly routine in the middle of the day can help settle the baby into recognising its surroundings which may help it get used to the lack of movement at night. Watch TV, lie down, or read a book. Sedentary activities even for a few hours can teach the baby to adapt to non-movement scenarios.
Spend a few hours during the day to observe your baby. Their routines may help you understand their behaviour. You may be surprised to notice how much a baby moves during the day. A moving baby is a healthy baby.
If your baby moves at night, it is not a cause for alarm. Most babies move the same amount during the day. If the baby does not move during the day, but does during the night, there is no reason to panic. This may be due to your baby having a nocturnal cycle. Speak to your paediatrician freely and address any concerns you may have with him to put your mind at ease. Stay abreast with your check-ups and consultations and listen to the doctor’s advice. Remember to remain calm – your baby can sense anxiety, which can make it feel uneasy.
References and Resources: Livestrong
Also Read: Facts About Baby Kicking in the Womb