What Your Baby’s First Movements Feel Like [And When to Expect Them]

pregnant woman holding flowers

Let’s start this by saying that every pregnancy is different. For example, most say that first-time moms won’t be able to feel their baby’s first movements before week 20 or so. However, I felt mine move at week 13! The truth is, unless you have an anterior placenta, you should be able to do the same. The secret lies in knowing how to recognize them.

The most common comparison I read of was “it feels like bowel movements!”, and I was so confused as to how this would feel. I know what those feel like, and baby movements turned out to be nothing like that.

So for those second trimester moms-to-be who are feeling something they can’t place – here’s how I recognized my baby moving.

Will Your Baby’s First Movements Tickle?

One of the most common descriptions of baby’s first movements (“quickenings“) say that they feel like flutters or tickles. And let me tell you – for me, the very first ones felt like feather touches, but soon enough they started tickling like crazy!

So if you start feeling unidentified tickles in your belly, and you’re out of your first trimester (as active as your baby may be, you can’t feel their movements during the first trimester due to their size), it’s likely that’s it!

Bonus tip: if you felt something unusual and it makes you want to cry – you can be practically sure that was it. That’s how it was for me, and it’s true what they say: a mother knows!

Does a Baby Moving Feel Like Bubbles?


After a few weeks, chances are the movements will turn from being light tickles to the feeling of soap bubbles bursting in your womb. The best way I can describe it is – it feels like muscle spasms. At week 18, the tickles grew into them, and once again, I knew. If you’re not prone to muscle spasms in your stomach area, and you suddenly start feeling them, this might be it.

Where Are Baby’s First Movements Felt?

One more thing that may help you determine whether you’re feeling your baby move, or just being hopeful is the placement of those sensations. Until almost the 20th week, your uterus is likely still below your belly button. That’s why any movement will be felt in your lower abdomen.

From my personal experience, it will rarely be felt in the middle of it: my little one keeps kicking either on the right, or on the left, though this particular thing may depend on the baby’s position as well.

So, Is It The Baby or Something You Ate?

The bottom line is, if you feel new sensations in your lower abdomen – not painful, just strange – which you simply can’t place, it’s very likely that’s your baby coming to say Hi! Your baby’s first movements feel like flutters and tickles at first, then are likely to grow into muscle spasm-like moments.

Did your baby’s first movements feel different to this? Share your experience with other moms-to-be!


A 27-year-old married mom-to-be, trying to have it all. I have a full-time job I enjoy, a home I’m in love with, and plenty of hobbies I try my best to have the time for. A psychologist by vocation, with the goal of helping young women live their best lives.

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