For expectant moms, there’s nothing like the first time you feel your unborn baby moving inside you.

You may have gotten a positive on your at-home pregnancy test, had your first ultrasound and experienced “morning sickness,” but feeling your baby move is both exciting and reassuring. It creates a real emotional and physical bond.

So, when should you feel those first flutters?

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While your unborn baby will probably start to move at about 12 weeks, it’s unlikely you’ll feel it then. Most pregnant women feel it at about 16 to 22 weeks, but some feel it sooner and others later. First-time moms often feel those first movements later than women who’ve been pregnant before. You should certainly feel something by 24 weeks.

Those first movements are called “quickening,” and when it happens, you may not even recognize it at first. In fact, it may feel like you have gas – which is another normal part of pregnancy. Here are a few ways the feeling has been described:

  • Fluttering
  • Flapping
  • Tapping
  • Bubbles or popcorn popping
  • Flickering
  • Small muscle spasms

It’s generally felt low in your stomach – close to your pubic bone. Because of the position of your uterus at this stage in your pregnancy, you shouldn’t expect to feel any movement much higher than your belly button until about 20 weeks.

When and how often you feel movement varies from mom to mom. But by the third trimester (28 weeks), you should be feeling at least 10 movements every two hours.

If you’re feeling movement less frequently – or haven’t felt it at all – talk to your doctor or other health care provider. They can perform additional tests to confirm everything’s OK.

You won’t feel quickening all the time. In fact, you may go days between feeling your baby move during your first trimester. That’s normal. Your baby needs to move and stretch in utero – which is why you feel those flutters – and your baby needs rest, too.

At about 28 weeks, your baby’s movements will become more regular and reliable.