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Pregnancy-what is quickening?

Quickening FAQs

What is quickening?

The term quickening is used to describe the exact moment a pregnant woman feels for the first time the baby´s movements inside her uterus. Medically, this term is known as “first fetal movements”. Years ago, when there was not enough obstetrical technology, this moment indicated that the baby was alive.

When does quickening occur?

The baby begins moving before the Mum can feel it, but for knowledge purposes, this term is used the way we explained above. Quickening may happen in first-time mothers between 16 and 25 weeks of pregnancy. While women with previous pregnancies may feel these movements as early as 13 weeks.

What does quickening feel like?

The behaviour of the baby inside the uterus is very active. The qualities of the movement (frequency, sharpness, strength) vary depending on the pregnancy´s week and how much space the baby has left. Several women describe these movements as sharp kicks, gentle pressure, rolling or turning, muscle spasms, etc. These baby movements can be similar to other natural and biological abdominal sensations like hunger, gas, rumblings, among others.egnancy. While women with previous pregnancies may feel these movements as early as 13 weeks.

How often should my baby move?

Generally, your baby moves up to 30 times in an hour, but you are not going to feel every movement. This behaviour gets more frequent at the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third. By the end of gestation, your baby will have less space to move, so he will be calmer. At this stage, 10 movements in 2 hours are considered normal.

When should I be worried about not feeling my baby´s movements?

As a concerned Mum-to-be, it makes perfect sense to worry about not feeling your baby move. Monitor baby’s movements at the same time each day for an hour or two so that you have a guideline to compare with, especially on a day that you feel you may have some room for concern.

Do I have to monitor these movements every day?

It used to be advised to monitor your baby’s movements quite specifically counting the movements, however, the current advice is to tune into baby ideally at a time when he is more active. You can relax in a comfortable chair or lie on your left side after lunch or dinner and assess how your baby’s movements are. If baby is not moving as normal try not to panic but do contact your doctor for a medical assessment immediately.


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What Our Patients Say

Gráinne Macken

This is my second visit to Merrion Fetal, I was very pleased on both occasions. Lovely quiet waiting room, appointment was on time. The 20-week scan is very detailed we enjoyed watching our baby on the large TV screen. We got some beautiful photos. The nurse was very pleasant and talked us through all the measurements and anatomy. I would highly recommend this scanning clinic.”

Áine Gibney

I had the best experience at the Merrion Fetal Health clinic for my 20-week big scan. The staff were so friendly and so nice and the lovely lady who did my ultrasound scan was amazing. She was so thoroughgoing to absolutely everything and gave me such reassurance on how my baby was growing and developing. I would recommend any Mother to be to attend here if you are looking for a comfortable, reassuring and super pleasant experience.”

Linda O'Sullivan

Highly recommend! We had an early scan due to a little scare at the start of pregnancy and then another at 12 weeks to make sure all was good again. Helen who was scanning on both days was fantastic. We felt totally relaxed and un-rushed while she took her time finding the best angle of baby to get us the clearest pictures as keepsakes all while making sure everything was perfect with baby. She reassured us throughout and I can honestly say it was the best money we ever spent getting both scans done.

Please let Helen know we are 18 weeks now and flying along Highly recommend!



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All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.


This website was formerly Merrion Fetal Health. The clinic has undergone a rebrand and is now known as Merrion Ultrasound.