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Those Baby Movements, Explained

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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Raising an Active Kid

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