The answer to this question depends on how far along you are. If you are less than 20 weeks’ gestation or so, you are probably too early to feel any fetal movement. First time moms don’t typically report feeling movements (quickening) for the first time until 20 weeks or so; women who have had children before often feel the first movements two or three weeks sooner (around 17-20 weeks). Even after these gestational ages, it is still common to go a few days without feeling fetal movement until about 24 weeks or so.

After 24 weeks, you should expect to feel some movement every day, but how much movement you feel varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. You or your partner may not be able to feel the baby with a hand on the outside of your belly simply because you have an anterior placenta or the baby is turned and kicking in the other direction.

If you are concerned that you have not felt enough fetal movement and you are more than 24 weeks’ gestation, then lie down on your left side and concentrate on feeling for movements. You should feel at least six movements of some sort in the first hour; if you have felt some movements but not six, then continue counting for another hour. You should feel at least 10 movements during those two hours. Because of fetal sleep cycles, it’s not uncommon for it take two hours to feel the ten movements. Ideally, this is done during the baby’s active time. For many women, the baby’s active time is shortly after they have eaten dinner. So, maybe try eating a little something if you don’t reach the six kicks in an hour, and then extend to counting for the two hour mark. If you don’t reach 10 movements in two hours, then this is a reason to go to the hospital or office and be evaluated.

You might have read on the Internet that you should do “kick counts” every day. Most pregnant women do not need to do this as the practice may actually be harmful overall to the pregnancy. Only do daily kick counts if your doctor has told you to do it for a specific reason.