Pregnancy
18 weeks and 4 days pregnant

This is a side view ultrasound scan with the baby’s head in the top left. Your baby appears completely human with all fingers and toes fully developed. The skin is now covered with lanugo, fine protective hair.

There’s no harm in encouraging your baby to move to increase the likelihood of you feeling his wriggles.

If you’re waiting to feel your baby’s first movements, be patient. Although it’s reassuring to feel him wriggling around, becoming stressed about it won’t be good for either of you. Remember, many pregnant women – first-time mums especially – don’t feel those first flutterings until 18 to 20 weeks or later.

It may be that you have been so busy and active that you have been distracted and not felt your baby’s movements. So just stop and relax for a little while; when you’re resting the movements will be much more obvious.

Also remember that the baby does not move continuously and there will be periods when the baby is not moving.

There are a few things you can try to stimulate your baby into action – the more he moves, the more chance there is that you’ll feel it. It may help to lie down on your side, with your bump supported. Doing this may stimulate your baby to move, as he changes his position to accommodate yours. If all else fails sit down and rest while you have something sweet to eat or drink. This may just do the trick, because babies respond to a rise in their mother’s blood sugar.

You will probably not be able to feel your baby move yet, but he is incredibly active inside your uterus. Somersaults and stretches are part of his daily routine, as are thumb and toe sucking. Your baby moves when awake and asleep: he has no control over his movements at this stage. Ultrasound scans reveal a huge range of movement in between inactive periods.

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I’ve heard that babies react to sounds with a “startle reflex”, so can I prompt my baby to move by playing some loud music?

Yes, this is common. Research has shown that a baby can react to sounds in the uterus from as early as nine weeks’ gestation.

Your baby cannot hear yet, so playing loud music won’t have any effect at this stage.

By about 22 weeks, your baby will be able to hear some sounds, by 24–25 weeks he’ll be reacting to many different sounds, and sudden noises may prompt a startle response.

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