Baby Moving Like Crazy in Between Contractions: Understanding Fetal Movement Before and During Labor

Written by Margaret
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

If you find your baby moving like crazy in between contractions, don’t panic! It’s usually nothing serious! However, if you’re uncomfortable and if it stresses you out, we’re here to help!

That’s why we structured and built this guide up, though! To help expectant mothers like you cope with this and let you know that it’s going to be fine!

The rapid, sharp, and kind of dramatic baby movement between contractions may be caused by various factors. They could just be responding to uterine contractions, your baby’s getting more blood and oxygen. They could also be feeling a bit uncomfortable, or they’re excited! 

Disclaimer 

Please note, this article is intended to provide general information on pregnancy and diet, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The article has been reviewed by medical expert Margaret Dogwood, BSN, RN.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary modifications during pregnancy.

What Causes a Baby to Move?

I mean, shouldn’t you be more concerned if your baby is not moving at all? Many expectants feel heavy stress and think that baby movements are things they should think about. 

For a number of crucial reasons, the movement of a baby before and during birth is seen as a healthy indicator. The Cleveland Clinic says that one reason why babies move inside the womb is because they need to develop motor reactions. This is with their bones, joints, and muscles.

They mature through movement. Your baby is getting ready for life outside the womb by stretching, kicking, and moving. If your unborn child isn’t moving around in your womb, there may be an issue with your placenta or amniotic fluid levels.”

Additionally, a baby’s movement during birth helps doctors check the process and give the next best steps. Experts can find if the labor is normal or if there are complications through your baby’s movements.

Understanding Baby Movement During Labor

Now, let’s get to the exciting part – labor! So, either you are expecting your baby soon or if you just want to be prepared, knowing and understanding them is important. What they’ll do before and during labor won’t be like something they’ve been holding on for months!

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that contractions during labor will feel similar to the contractions you experience throughout your pregnancy, which is comparable to the sensation of menstrual cramps.

You can have back or pelvic discomfort when your uterus contracts. This discomfort might be comparable to menstruation cramps. Regular patterns of labor contractions occur, and they become closer together with time.”

And to answer, yes, your baby will move during this time and, in fact, will continue up to early labor. The pattern of movement may change throughout labor and you’ll feel some type of wavy, shuffle movement instead of single or multiple kicks.

NOTE: News Medical says that the feeling of the baby moving is a great sign and assurance that your little munchkin’s health is well! It means that they’re alive and kicking!

Why is My Baby Moving Like Crazy In Between Contractions? 5 Possible Reasons

Labor or not, you might find it strange and weird why your babe is stuck and moving crazy inside your tummy. But, why could that be? What could the actual reasons be on why they are this active and locomotive?

As a parent myself, I know how you’re feeling! So, we prepared a couple of the most probable reasons for the energetic and bubbly attitude your baby is exhibiting!

Reason #1: Fetal Positioning

Fetal positioning is one of the many magical things that happen throughout a pregnancy. This positioning refers to how your baby is placed and positioned within the womb.

Ideally, the easiest and most favorable position for your little munchkin would be the occiput anterior or OA where the baby is positioned head down, with their back resting on the belly and facing your back, while the feet are up, as per Healthline.

Not that there is an easy way, but this infant position makes it the simplest for your baby to descend and for you to give delivery. The infant has the highest chance of passing through the delivery canal while in the downward fetal position.”

So, if you’re feeling like your baby is moving too much, they might be trying to position perfectly for both of you!

Reason #2: Uterine Contraction Response

Another reason for soon-to-be mothers to feel like their babies move too much would be back–and-forth contraction and release of the uterus muscles. I mean, who knows? 

The baby could be changing position within the womb every now and then. This could be in response to the tightening and release of the uterine muscles by moving more often in between contractions.

I recall a time when my cousin, who was 35 weeks at that time, said that she was about to give birth because she’s experiencing these contractions. 

We went to her OB-GYN and that was when we figured out that she wasn’t – it was just the baby’s response to how the lining of the uterus was constantly adjusting!

Reason #3: Fetal Discomfort or Stress

Picture this: you’re uncomfortable and you are under stress, what would your brain tell you? You’ll be frustrated, angry, and you’ll most likely feel sad – and, for babies, they’ll most likely give you a sharp kick!

Although less movement, lower amniotic fluid, and changes in the fetal heart rate are among the most common signs that your baby may be experiencing stress there are rare cases where violent and abrupt kicks and movement could be their way of trying to catch your attention.

As a mother, you will feel it – it’ll feel like there’s something that’s not right with how the baby is acting. If it continues on for a day or two, contact your OB-GYN or your healthcare professional immediately.

Reason #4: Excitement or Boredom

Since week 12, you could be experiencing highly random kicks, flutters, and movement in your belly that you can find interesting. And although large sways, deep kicks, and sharp movement could be alarming, it might just be a sign that your baby is bored – or excited.

I mean, lying inside a place where you can barely see the outside world is a bit of a bummer, right? That’s what exactly Kathy Fray, Maternity Consultant, Senior Midwife and Best-Selling Author said.

             Who the hell can lie still for nine months? They also build their muscle strength and coordination through kicking.”

When you’re nearing labor, it can also be a sign that they are excited to move out from their old settlement to a new one – but, of course, with their parents! In childhood, kicking and fluttering is a way of showing personality, so, it could be their way of telling you “Momma, I’m on my way!”

Reason #5: Maternal Stress in Relation to Baby’s Movements

And last but most definitely not least would be the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of the mother. I know that you could’ve heard it a thousand times, but, “a momma’s heart, is the baby’s heart,” and this basically means that your sweet little angel is feeling and mimicking your experiences.

Not to state the obvious, but, stress experienced by the mother before or during labor may also affect the baby’s movements. Stress or anxiety in the mother may influence the infant’s behavior or lead to more frequent movements.

In order to foster a tranquil atmosphere for both the mother and the baby during labor, it is crucial for the mother to make an effort to control her stress levels.

Dr. Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, stated that stress is a silent killer, and can actually have detrimental effects on the development of a baby inside a woman’s womb.

             Many biological changes take place when a woman is under stress. This could include a rise in stress hormones and a higher chance of intrauterine infection. The fetus develops permanently to cope with this type of high-stress environment. So, once they’re born, they may be more susceptible to a variety of stress-related illnesses.”

Contractions vs. Baby’s Movement: Can They Coexist?

Most people, especially those who had normal pregnancies, would say that baby movement and contractions won’t coexist. In other words, they won’t happen! At least at the same time – it’ll always just be one after the other.

When, in reality, it’s possible!

PubMed said that there has been a high percent incidence of fetal movement during uterine contractions, in fact, in total, it plateaus at 89.8%!

             During uterine contractions, 65.9% of the time occurred. 89.8% of all uterine contractions had fetal movement as their primary cause. The amount of time the fetus moved was higher during uterine contractions (21.4%) than it was between contractions (12.9%).”

What To Do During Intense Movement? 3 Tips For Expectant!

We’re just humans – we can’t swallow everything we’re give. Also adding to that is the fact that we might feel a little more vulnerable, too, especially since that’s what pregnancy is about.

So, there will be times when you’ll feel like you have intense movements and that it needs to be attended to by medical professionals. But, there are a few things you can actually do in order to keep your emotions at bay!

Water Therapy

Water is the universal medicine – and it’s something that can be of assistance when you’re feeling inconvenienced and uncomfortable, too.

Think about taking a hot shower or bath. The calming effects of water can help relax muscles. It can also reduce the discomfort associated with intense fetal activity. Using a birthing pool or tub, if one is accessible, might add more comfort and support.

Focused and Controlled Breathing

Most people take this for granted, but proper, controlled, and focused breathing can actually give you a ton of benefits. Besides, panicking in this situation won’t do you any better!

You may stay cool and collected when experiencing severe fetal activity by breathing deeply and slowly. Use deep breathing methods, such as taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. You’ll be able to unwind and control how forceful the motions are using this.

Change Positions

Try out various postures to determine which one feels most comfortable during fetal movement that is very vigorous.

To do this, you might stand, stroll, kneel, sit on a birthing ball, or lean against a support. By switching postures, you can ease pressure and discomfort and lessen the force of the movements.

When to Seek Medical Assistance

Of course, we need to consider the opinions of professionals who have been doing this for years. Healthline suggests consulting an OB-GYN if you always worry about your baby’s movements.

We’re not just talking about sharp, abrupt, and violent movements, even slower and smoother movements can be a cause for concern, too.

Being mothers, you will sense the pattern of your little angel inside your womb, and if you don’t expect certain scenarios or monitor changes in how they move and behave, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert.

Not all babies are born equally – every baby is different and unique in their own way. Just because something happens to another expectant, doesn’t mean that it will occur to you – or vice versa. Always consider seeking professional assistance to get the most accurate results! Don’t think twice and think about how much it’ll cost you! 

FAQs

I know that you may have a few questions under your belt. So, we present to you some of the most asked questions that revolve around your baby moving like crazy between contractions!

Is Baby Super Active Before Labor?

Yes,, the baby will continue to move before labor, even up until the early stages of labor – or so, you think. The Braxton Hicks contractions are contractions that are not felt until the second or third trimester. It’s like the preparation of a woman’s body for labor.

Baby Moving Like Crazy In Between Contractions 39 Weeks

At 39 weeks, if you’re feeling like your baby is moving not like how they used to, it could mean that you are nearing labor. Otherwise, they’re false contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions. They are designed to help your body prepare for labor.

Do Babies Move During Contractions

It is possible for them to move during contractions, however, what you might be feeling are the changes happening in your uterine muscles. But yes, babies can move – their movements might just be less noticeable.

Final Verdict

Most of the time, women panic when they feel like their babies are moving way too wildly inside their wombs. Do not! It’s typically just your baby playing around – or they could just be in discomfort, according to your position and your environment.

So, if your baby is moving like crazy in between contractions, visit this again and get the guidance that you need! 

Photo of author
Dr. Margaret Dogwood, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician from the University of Pittsburgh, is renowned in child nutrition. Although she doesn't pen articles, she critically reviews pediatric content, ensuring its accuracy. Covering topics from developmental milestones to vaccine schedules, Dr. Dogwood is a trusted name in child healthcare. When not immersed in her professional world, she embraces the tranquility of yoga and captures moments through photography.

Get a freebie every week!

Join 40,000+ parents and teachers , and you'll get a freebie in your inbox at least once a week, along with tips, information, and other resources!

Subscribe to the Mamallove newsletter: