pregnant woman feeling her baby moving while walking in a fieldQuestion: “I’m in my fourth month of pregnancy and I haven’t yet felt my baby moving. Is this normal? Or could it be that I’m just not identifying the kicking?”

Answer: Few pregnant women, especially first-timers, feel their first kick in the fourth month. Even though your baby begins to make impulsive movements by the seventh week, they are so tiny so you don’t feel them. The first time most pregnant women feel their baby is somewhere between the 14th and 26th weeks, but generally closer to the average of the 18th to 22nd week.

Sometimes, fetal movements aren’t felt when expected because of your due date was miscalculated. Also, the flutters and kicks may be there but you’re just not recognizing them. Oftentimes, women mistake these early movements for gas or digestive issues. It’s impossible to tell a woman in her first pregnancy exactly what to expect; everyone’s pregnancy experience is different. But the most common description of the baby’s first movement is a “fluttering in the abs” or that it felt like “butterflies in the stomach.” Other women describe it as a bumping, nudging, or “a growling stomach.”

It’s not unusual to not feel anything until the 20th week or later. Your healthcare practitioner can order an ultrasound to check on your baby’s condition if you haven’t felt anything-and they haven’t been able to encourage fetal response by prodding-by the 22nd week. However, if your baby’s heartbeat is strong and everything seems to be moving ahead normally, they may hold off testing even longer.