Pregnancy

Mamas-to-be share: What did your baby's first movements feel like?

Sep. 24, 2012 at 2:58 PM ET

Pregnancy Signs: Quickening, First Movement Baby
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Pregnancy Signs: Quickening, First Movement Baby

Before it looks—and feels—like an alien has taken control of your belly (What is that? A head? A foot? An elbow? An entire soccer team? Ouch!), those first feelings of movement from your baby are not only a huge relief to most pregnant women, but also seriously cool. 

Early on, though, it can be tricky to distinguish between "quickening"—the official term for the sensation of your baby's first movements—and the burrito you took down the night before coming back to haunt you. First time moms-to-be usually first notice the signs between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, while second-time moms may notice those early kicks as early at 16 weeks. 

Many women describe the feeling as a fluttering or bubbles, but for those who are unsure if what they're feeling is actually the baby, here are some ways readers describe those joyful early movements:

"It felt really light and subtle and fast, almost like an eye twitch. It's very very subtle, but I can feel it most of the day! I have a very active little wiggly worm in there."—JessiRynn

"For me, it feels like I have a bag in my belly with a goldfish swimming around. When the goldfish flicks into the bag, that's what I feel. So excited!"—talllady84

"I felt a sort of paintbrush feeling go across the my abdomen. It was incredible!”—addiegirl09

"I felt tiny little strings of bubbles off and on for about five seconds, or swishiness, or something, right in the front of my tummy."—eva_antropologa

"I was lying in bed (on my belly to stretch my back) and I felt something. It was really low in my pelvis- sort of where I would have menstral cramps-in the middle of my belly. It felt like a super tiny butterfly was in there."—melanie914

"I was lying on my back in bed , just on the verge of waking up and I felt little flutters in my very low belly. Unlike gas or anything I've felt. Just quick little pitter-patters."—quixy

"I felt it at about 16 weeks. It feels like popcorn popping in your belly!"—brown_eyedgal30

"Mine feel like little thumps...not very hard some days and others a bit harder. With one child, it felt like little animals moving around in my belly when it was an active day. I think the best way to describe it is like a little spasm!"—nikkicherry

"I'm not a gassy person and it felt like little bubbles bursting in my stomach."—eternalist

"It felt like a light flutter that ran across from one side to the other."—nillababy

"Sometimes it feels like a little light tickle, and sometimes a little bump when I swear the baby's doing somersaults."—excitednewmama

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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