Fetal movement is the motion of a baby in the mother’s stomach. This happens because the baby has muscles and moves them. Locomotor activity happens during the late stage of being an embryo. It changes in nature throughout development. Muscles move when they are innervated. Some of the first movements that babies make are not reflexes. They start when they create nerve impulses in their spinal cord. As the nervous system matures, muscles can react to stimuli.
In a fetus, it is possible to see whether the movement is from the brain or not. When you compare them to an anencephalic fetus, you can tell that a movement is supraspinally determined. As we have already said the Fetal movements occur because of muscle contractions that happen within a baby, usually starting at about 20 weeks into a pregnancy and continue for up to 10 weeks after birth. Fetal movements are also known as fetal activity, from which we get the term “kicking”.
In normal, healthy pregnancies, movement over the entire body is gradually being established from around 20 weeks. Hands and feet can be seen curling or stretching by 32-34 weeks, but the presence of a fluttering heartbeat should not be mistaken for movement. The baby becomes more active as it grows bigger and gets stronger.
Maternal activity can influence the number and strength of fetal movements. Normal, frequent, and strong fetal movements are important signs of a healthy pregnancy. However, some women will notice little or no movement for hours at a time. This may be normal if there were strong movements earlier that day or even that week. As long as the mother is reassured that this pattern is normal (and it usually is), there is no cause for concern.