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Those Baby Movements, Explained

There’s a rhyme and reason to your unborn baby’s bops, kicks, and bounces. Here, we explain these common belly mysteries.
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Sometimes my baby squirms around like she’s training to be an Olympic gymnast or something. What’s going on?
Many moms notice extra movement after they’ve eaten. The reason: The accompanying rise in blood sugar gives baby more energy to somersault (give that baby a score of 10!). Sometimes, babies kick more frequently when the TV is on or music is playing. Whether it’s because they like it or they want it off isn’t known—but it’s clear that they’re tuning in, notes Rebecca Lisa Shiffman, M.D., Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center in the Bronx, New York: “Research has shown that newborns recognize music they heard during the pregnancy.”

When can my baby start to hear me?
By about the fifth month of pregnancy, your baby’s ears are developed enough to listen to you, whether you’re chatting on the cell or talking with friends about your plans for the nursery. Baby will know your voice best because she’s tuning in from your belly! You might also notice that your little one gets particularly excited when her Daddy or another male relative talks. Science shows men’s deeper voices appeal because low-pitched sounds are easier to hear through the amniotic fluid. Pretty cool, right?

What exactly is my baby doing when she’s not moving?
Mulling over when she’ll make her big debut! OK, actually, most likely she’s sleeping. By 32 weeks, your unborn baby spends 90 to 95 percent of the day dozing (lucky kid!). Sometimes, she might be in a “quiet awake” state in which her body is still but her eyes are moving (think of a newborn quietly hanging out in his bouncy seat, observing the world around him). If it seems as though your unborn baby is moving less than usual, let your ob/gyn know.

Why does my baby seem ready to party when I’m ready to crash?
Unborn babies’ circadian rhythms—a fancy word for their sleep/wake cycle—are actually the opposite of yours. Their quiet time is in the morning and they shake and bake more as the day goes on. “Most women notice more movement when they’re resting simply because they’re paying attention to it,” notes Austin Chen, M.D., an ob/gyn at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. “A fetus can be just as active when you’re busy.” Hey, even if she’s keeping you up at night, it’s hard not to get a kick (literally!) out of your baby-to-be.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 9reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Rules for pregnant women:1. if you eat sugar foods you will have a hyper baby in 30 minutes.2. if you eat late nights you will have your baby a schedule like that (dont complain about how you baby gets up in the middle of the night)3. baby moves when you relax because they trying to see why all the moving you do stop. just lay down and rock September 21, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I love this article it validates alot .. I always wondered why my little boy seems to get excited when my boyfriend gets home from work I always think its the cutest thing... And when my brother came into town he was up all the time moving around so yeah that part about male voices makes sense November 3, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I have 4 kids now and let me just say, Pregnancy is sometimes the EASIEST part of parenting! Having your baby warm and snug and safe, able to feed your baby without having to hardly lift more than a few fingers, and NEVER having to worry about where your child is was one of the best memories of pregnancy! That and when baby had the hiccups! That constant, rhythmic, perfectly spaced ticking going off in your belly may not be a muscle spasm! February 5, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 That would always happen to me. At night baby would have a slumber party in my tummy while i tried to sleep. January 19, 2012
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