Your baby’s heartbeat and movement in the second trimester

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling, a midwife for over 25 years, is the Director of Midwifery Studies at UTS. She believes research, innovation and good quality midwifery are pivotal to the well-being of mothers and young families. Christine has extensive experience in antenatal education, policy development and research, and has published on workforce issues, homebirth, vaginal birth...
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 3 mins read
Your baby’s heartbeat and movement in the second trimester

You are well into your second trimester now and are starting to encounter new moments of excitement. The previous poppy seed-sized embryo is now the size of a coconut! Your little coconut’s heartbeat and movements might be a bigger concern for you now, so here are a few things to look out for.

Monitoring your baby’s movement

From around weeks 18 to 25 you can look forward to feeling what people call ‘quickening’. Some mums describe this as butterflies, tumbling, tickling or twitching feelings. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t notice this though because it’s often that gas can be confused for movement.

Around week 24 your little one might start hiccuping which can definitely signal some motion in your abdomen.

To encourage some response, play more music and rub your belly often; babies react well to noise and touch.

They also have their own schedules, so it’s likely there will be a certain time of day for action (and it’s often nighttime when you’re looking to rest FYI). You might find that after eating a good meal your little one is also active. Overall, those kicks, jabs, and elbows are bound to come, but every mama is different, so don’t get worried about an exact timeline.

Once their moves do become more frequent you can feel free to start tracking them. Find a comfy spot to lie down and pay attention to the little movements – do you have a puncher or a kicker do you think?

By around week 28 your doctor or midwife will want you to be tracking this regularly. If your baby is less active than normal or doesn’t move at all, call your doctor or midwife.

pregnant woman cradling bump

Your baby’s heartbeat 

By the second trimester, your little one’s heart will be beating from 110 to 160 beats per minute. Their tiny hearts are beating much faster than yours! Your doctor or midwife will check their heartbeat during every prenatal appointment to monitor the progress of your baby and their overall health. Here they can check up on any potential problems or irregularities. Around week 22 you can figure this out by using a Doppler device as well.

From 28 weeks it is important that you sleep on your side to ensure blood flow and oxygen supply to the baby.

Sticking to a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep routine is the best way to maintain a healthy growing baby. Try to take the coming weeks with ease and trust in your baby’s ability to develop at their own pace. Every baby is different and getting attached to certain numbers will only stress you out. When that first kick comes and every time you hear your baby’s heartbeat, there is nothing else like it, so take it all in as it comes!

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