What to Expect
Knowing when to expect the earliest movements of your twins in the womb can be an exciting experience. Feeling your babies move often serves as a confirmation that they are healthy and growing. Most women start to feel their twins move around the 18th week of their pregnancy, but some can feel it as early as 16 weeks.
From there, the intensity of the movements increases as the babies grow. Read on to learn more about what to expect.
When to Start Feeling Movement
Most expecting parents will begin to feel movement from their babies in the second trimester, typically between weeks 18 and 24 of pregnancy. However, this can vary widely among women. Some may feel the first signs of movement early in the second trimester, while other women don’t feel anything until closer to 25 weeks or beyond. This is normal and largely depends on your individual reproductive system, not on whether you are carrying multiples or a single baby.
When carrying twins, feeling movements can actually begin earlier than with a single pregnancy – as early as 16 weeks or sometimes even sooner – by virtue of having two babies in the same space and each kicking up against the other for initial fetal movements. Parents expecting twins may also find that they can identify two distinct sets of kicks when feeling movements in their later stages of pregnancy particularly because fetal patterns often differ from one twin to another.
It’s important to remember that it’s normal for both sets of twins – identical and non-identical – to have different kick patterns during their pregnancies. Some fetuses are more active than others, some may move more during certain times of day while others prefer night time hours; some mothers will feel distinctly different movements depending on which position a particular twin is taking up at any given time within her womb – such as jabs and pokes with an elbow through one side versus kicks through the other side – or differences in intensity due to wide varieties of active and resting states that each fetus may have at any given moment in time together with its concurrent twin counterpart(s).
Difference in Movement Between Singleton and Twin Pregnancies
The amount of movement a pregnant mother perceives during pregnancy can differ depending on how many babies she is carrying. Mothers carrying a singleton may feel the baby begin to move on average between 16 and 24 weeks gestation, while mothers expecting twins may feel movements as early as 13 to 16 weeks gestation, due to the close proximity of the babies and their being able to detect each other’s movements.
With a singleton pregnancy, fetal movements become more frequent from 28 weeks gestation and continue until birth. Fetal movements with twins tend to follow the same pattern, however because twins are typically smaller than singletons, movement can be less intense even when felt earlier in pregnancy. As with anything relating to the health of your baby during your pregnancy, it is important to remain aware and mindful of any changes in regular pattern or intensity of fetal movement that are out of the ordinary.
If at any point an expecting mother notices a decrease in her babies’ activity levels or becomes concerned that they are not moving enough she should call her healthcare provider right away as these could be warning signs associated with pregnancy complications such as dehydration or fetal distress. Finally, mothers expecting multiples should also be monitored more closely by their providers throughout their pregnancies due to an increased risk of preterm labor and delivery.
Types of Movement
Fetal movement is an important indicator of fetal health and can give parents a sense of reassurance. It can vary from baby to baby and even from mother to mother. For parents who are expecting twins, there can be a different set of movements for each twin.
In this section, we’ll outline the different types of movement that parents of twins can expect to feel in the womb:
Quickening is the term used to describe when expectant parents first feel their baby move inside the womb. For most, this occurs between weeks 16-25 of pregnancy. However, with twins it’s not unusual to feel movement earlier than this.
With two babies in there competing for space, you may feel the first subtle signs of movement as early as 13 weeks into your pregnancy – roughly halfway through your total gestation period. That said, don’t be alarmed if you don’t experience quickening until later; every pregnancy is different, so some mothers might not feel their twins until well into the third trimester.
In addition to simply feeling those little elbows and kicks from within, you may also be able to witness external movements if an ultrasound happens to capture one of the babies being active! These visuals can be particularly exciting for twin mums-to-be at an early stage in their pregnancy journey.
Whether felt or seen onscreen, quickening is a profoundly special experience – and a reminder that two new lives are growing ever closer to joining us all on the outside world!
At around 15 weeks gestation, the mother might begin to feel flutters and slight regular movements from the fetus in her womb. Typically referred to as ‘quickening’, these feelings are a sign that the babies are moving and developing normally. Due to their lack of size, fetuses in multiple pregnancies tend to move less than single babies, making them more difficult for the expectant mother to identify. However, by around 24 weeks a woman carrying twins should usually be able to feel them move alongside each other.
Typically the sensations of movement start with fluttering yet quickly progress into stronger pushes and kicks from each baby individually. Movement can vary in frequency from mother to mother and even between babies in the same pregnancy due largely to physiological differences such as size or how close they sit next to one another. It is not uncommon for one twin’s movements to be felt more than another’s; however this does not necessarily mean there are health issues with either baby. Instead, it most likely has do do with their individual activity levels and positioning within the womb relative to where their mom is feeling the strongest movements or kicks.
Kicking is one of the first movements that many parents-to-be feel during the course of pregnancy, particularly with their first pregnancies. For moms expecting twins, this can occur as early as 16 weeks. As your babies become bigger and stronger, they will begin to move around with more force, usually starting out with just a few gentle taps and making their way up to strong kicks that you can feel on the outside.
It may be difficult to identify each baby’s movements if you’re feeling movement earlier on in pregnancy. At around 20 weeks, though, mothers-to-be typically begin to be able to differentiate individual kicks and even recognize their babies’ patterns of movement. In addition to kicking, your twins may also wiggle, twist or roll – though since space is at a premium in there, they may not have quite enough room for big gymnastics routines!
If you are feeling any movement before 16 weeks or are worried about your babies’ activity level for any reason, talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Factors Affecting Movement
Feeling your twins move in the womb is a special milestone in motherhood. The timing of when you can feel them move can depend on a variety of factors. These factors include the size of the babies and the position of the placenta. It can also depend on the mother’s body composition and the amount of amniotic fluid.
Let’s take a look at what else might affect the timing of when you can feel your twins move in the womb:
Placental location is an important factor in determining how early you can feel your twins move. It’s normal to feel babies move in the womb at around 16 weeks, but if a twin has a placenta located on the front wall of the uterus, you may be able to feel nerve endings as soon as 12 weeks. On the other hand, if you have low lying placentas, you may not feel movement until much later, usually around 24 weeks.
The location of the placenta affects how quickly movement is felt because it functions as a barrier between the baby and your abdominal wall. With low lying or anterior-lying placentas located close to the surface of your abdomen, extra buffering is needed for movement to be felt and this could slow down sensation from reaching your sense of touch sooner.
In addition to placental location, other factors that will affect when you can feel your babies move include:
- Baby size: Larger babies tend to stay in one specific area for longer periods of time before moving around giving more opportunity for moms-to-be to pick up on small movements.
- Baby movements: Babies naturally kick and stretch their arms and legs; some babies are busier movers than others and providing more chances for mom-to-be’s to pick up on small kicks or rolling motions in utero.
- Uterine muscle tone: Moms who have more relaxed uterus muscles may be able to detect their baby’s movements earlier than those who have a tighter uterine muscle tone because there is less resistance when attempting to detect movements through either sense of touch or ultrasound imaging used by healthcare providers during ultrasounds.
Baby position can have a major impact on when a parent or doctor feels movement. During the second trimester, most babies will position themselves with their heads down, so they will be at the lower part of the abdomen and easier to feel movements. When there are twins, however, one or both of them may be in a breech or transverse position which can make it harder to detect movements.
In addition to baby positioning, other physiological factors can also influence when and how much a mother can feel them move. Maternal weight gain, carrying high or low and their physical shape can influence the amount of movement sensed from twin babies during pregnancy. If a mother is carrying high and has not put on much weight during pregnancy, it is likely that she may feel less movement than other pregnant women carrying low and experiencing enhanced maternal weight gain during their pregnancies.
Fetal health is also important when considering fetal movement in twins. Fetuses with too little amniotic fluid surrounding them or with medical conditions that limit their ability to move may not be as active as those without such limitations have so the mother may not feel any movements at all if the babies have any kind of medical condition that limits their movement abilities while inside the womb.
Maternal Activity Level
The level of physical activity the mother is engaging in frequently affects the rate and strength of fetal movements. During periods where the mother is more physically active, typically during the day, increased movements from the twins will be felt in comparison to times when she may be sitting or lying down for longer periods of time.
As a pregnancy progresses and more space becomes limited within the uterus, it may become less able to be influenced by maternal activity levels.
When to See a Doctor
The movement of twins in the womb is a unique experience, however it can also be a cause of concern. If you’re pregnant with twins, it’s important to be aware of when you should seek medical help. Feeling the movements of two babies can come earlier than one baby, so it’s important to be on the lookout for irregularities in their movements.
Detail of when to see a doctor will be discussed further in this section.
Although if you are pregnant with twins, it is normal for you to experience more movement than if you were carrying only one baby, it is important to be aware of any abnormal movements. If you think that the movement of your babies is unusual, you should contact your doctor right away. This could be a sign of something wrong with one or both of the babies and may require further investigation and monitoring.
Abnormal movements could include:
- A decrease in movement or kicking that had been there previously
- The absence of kicking or movement after 28 weeks
- Twisting motions inside the womb
- Unusual jerking movements or being still for a prolonged period (>20 minutes)
It can be difficult to monitor every single movement accurately when carrying twins, so some doctors advise keeping a pregnancy journal and noting down any abnormalities in fetal movement that concern you. If at any stage your feel worried about how your babies are moving, contact your doctor immediately.
Lack of Movement
Lightening, when a woman’s baby begins to drop into the pelvis in preparation for delivery, can happen any time from several weeks to a few hours before going into labor. It is not uncommon to experience periods of decreased fetal movement right before labor begins. However, if your twin pregnancy is progressing normally, you should still feel movement of one or both babies throughout the day.
If you notice a decrease in fetal movement or observe that neither baby seems to be particularly active in a 24-hour period, it is important to contact your doctor immediately. This can indicate that one or both babies are not getting enough oxygen and nutrients in the womb and may need medical attention. If at any time during your pregnancy the movements stop completely – especially after 28 weeks – call your doctor immediately for further instruction. Lack of fetal movement could be an indication of serious problems with one or both babies and can increase the risk for other complications such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Even if after being evaluated your babies are found to be healthy, it is important to seek professional medical advice for any changes in activity levels as soon as these changes occur.
Tips for Bonding With Twins in the Womb
If you are expecting twins, bonding with them in the womb is an incredible experience. You may start feeling your twins move in the womb as early as 16 weeks into your pregnancy. From this point onwards, you can have a closer connection to your babies and start to bond with them.
This article will provide some tips for bonding with twins in the womb:
Talk to Your Babies
Talking to your babies can help you build a connection with them in utero. Many parents report that their twins move differently when spoken to directly. Even from the beginning of pregnancy, talking to your baby can stimulate speech and language development. From 16-20 weeks, you may even be able to start hearing your baby’s response with a fetal Doppler ultrasound!
Furthermore, talking directly to your babies can help them differentiate between their own bodies and those of others. At 28 weeks, the use of language becomes even more beneficial for social connection as babies develop the ability to recognize intonations as part of verbal communication.
It’s important to remember that bonding with multiples in the womb is a unique experience compared with bonding with a single fetus – your twins are each their own individual person and they should feel special and loved! Make sure that when speaking directly to your babies, you talk to both twins separately – referring by name if possible – so they don’t feel like they’re being lumped together. Letting each twin know that you care about one another but still have unique identities will bring them closer together even before birth.
Beginning around 19 weeks, the babies will start to respond to sound. This means that playing familiar songs and melodies can be a great way to bond with your twins in the womb. Sing along or hum a tune and your babies will be sure to recognize the music even a few weeks after they are born. Make sure to speak in a gentle tone of voice when talking or singing, as loud sounds can result in sudden jerking motions that could startle them.
You may even choose to position yourself with one ear on the belly and listen for the kicking, rustling and thumping from the little feet within. You will usually begin to feel these movements at around 16-22 weeks pregnant, but this can vary for each woman and pregnancy situation.
You can also bond through touch by gently laying one palm flat on your belly for a few moments at each session, then changing hands or changing positions until you complete a full circle around your uterus. Your babies will benefit from feeling your tender touch and loving intentions directed towards them throughout any stage of their pregnancy journey with you!
Reading stories to your twins in the womb is an excellent way to create a bond with them while they’re still in utero. Choose stories with positive themes and messages that are appropriate for children, such as stories about nature, friendship, exploration, or animals. Make sure you choose age-appropriate stories so that the content isn’t too adult or too complicated for young minds.
Stories also serve as a wonderful way to introduce language and simple vocabulary to your fetuses before they’re even born. As they get closer to birth, introduce them to other sounds such as:
- White noise (if desired)
Reading stories is a great opportunity for parents to accommodate both fetuses at the same time and ensure that each one receives equal attention from a distance.