Baby Movement at 26 Weeks – What’s Normal & When To Worry

Feeling your baby’s movements inside you is a cherished and highly anticipated part of your pregnancy journey.

By 26 weeks (your 6 month of pregnancy), fetal movement will start to ramp up a notch, so what should you expect?

By the 26 week mark, you may start to feel your baby make around 6 to 10 distinct movements within a 2-hour period. However, some babies may move more or less frequently than this depending on their position and sleep habits, as well as your diet and activity level.

It’s important to get to know your baby’s typical movement schedule so you can start to see a pattern emerging.

Kick-counting apps and regular check-ins with your provider can help you keep track of what’s normal for your baby.

To help you learn more, we’ve answered some common concerns regarding fetal movement at 26 weeks as well as what to expect in your second and third trimesters.

Baby Movements at 26 Weeks – Common Concerns

As your baby grows, you will come to notice a distinct pattern of movements. Up until 26 weeks though, these movements can still be inconsistent and you may have quiet periods.

It helps to keep track of these movements and report any changes or concerns to your doctor or midwife.

Let’s look at what’s normal at 26 weeks in terms of baby movements, sleep, and important symptoms.

Normal Baby Movement at 26 Weeks

By week 26, increased development of your baby’s ear nerves means they can now respond more consistently to sound, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Because of this, you may feel more lively kicks and stretches in response to loud noise, usually around six distinct movements in a 2-hour period.

You may also feel jerky movements as a result of hiccuping (which can last for 30 minutes at a time!), though these don’t count as true movements in the same way a kick or stretch does.

Is It Normal Not To Feel Baby Move for a Day at 26 Weeks?

In discussing movements prior to 26 weeks, OB-GYN Dr. Michele Hakakha explains that a baby’s movement in utero is very inconsistent, meaning some days you will not feel movement, so this may still be the case as you enter week 26 of your pregnancy.

Dr. Hakakha also notes that your baby’s movement will depend on many factors including their position, how often they sleep, your diet, and how active you are.

How To Track Baby Movements

By 25-26 weeks, your healthcare practitioner may advise you to begin tracking your fetal movements or “kick counts.”

This can be as simple as lying down relaxed on your left side for up to an hour every morning.

Paying close attention, draw a checkmark on a piece of paper each time you feel a movement to assess the typical number of movements for your baby.

Though labeled “kick” counts, a true movement can be a stretch, push, turn, flutter, roll, flip, or punch/jab.

Try using a baby movement app to help you keep track of the kick counts, and after a couple of weeks, you should start to observe a pattern and become aware of any changes to this pattern.

How Long Do Babies Sleep in the Womb at 26 Weeks?

According to SMA Baby, your baby can typically sleep for around 20 hours a day at 26 weeks, and since he/she tends to be most lively when you are subdued and ready for bed, it helps to grab as much quality sleep as you can!

Should I Be Worried About Reduced Movement at 26 Weeks?

It’s normal for movement to be irregular during this time as the baby is still shaping their pattern of movement, but if you have noticed a marked change or reduction in their movements, don’t hesitate to call your midwife or healthcare provider to check up on things.

How Long Is Too Long To Not Feel Your Baby Move?

The Cleveland Clinic notes that the pattern of fetal movements becomes more apparent by your third trimester (28 weeks).

For this reason, movements may be inconsistent prior to this, so you may go several hours without feeling your baby move.

If you had been feeling movement previously but then go more than 4 hours without feeling anything, it’s time to contact your doctor, advises Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

This is why keeping track of your baby’s movements is important in helping you determine what is and isn’t normal for your baby.

It’s also vital that you share any concerns you may have about your baby’s lack of movement with your midwife and/or doctor (no matter how brief a period).

How Do I Know My Baby Is in Distress at 26 Weeks?

According to Cleveland Clinic and D’Amore Injury Law, the common signs of fetal distress can include:

  • Changes in fetal heart rate (higher or lower than normal)
  • Decreased fetal movement for an extended period
  • The baby “bump” is not progressing or appears smaller than expected
  • Excessive or inadequate weight gain
  • Low amitotic fluid
  • Cramping
  • Vagina bleeding

Potential fetal distress can be examined using EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) during an ultrasound but may also be tested with a non-stress test (typically done in the last trimester).

26 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms Not To Ignore

Around 26 weeks, it’s perfectly normal to experience these symptoms, but check-ins with your doctor will now become much more frequent to rule out a condition known as pre-eclampsia.

This can affect the placental arteries, making it harder for oxygen and food to be delivered to your baby.

According to Dr. Harvey Karp at Happiest Baby, pre-eclampsia can affect 10% of women in later pregnancy, and the important symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Swelling in the feet, legs, and face
  • Severe or persistent headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Pain near your liver
  • Too much protein in your urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
A woman with her hands on her pregnant belly against a white background.

When To Go To Hospital for Decreased Fetal Movement

If you don’t count the usual amount of fetal movements in your typical time frame (i.e., 10 movements every 2 hours), be sure to check yourself in at the hospital maternity ward to make sure everything is okay.

Even if this is the first time you have noticed a reduction in movement, your midwife and/or doctor will always want to hear your concerns, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

Fetal Movement Second Trimester

It’s normal to feel early hints of movement in the second trimester (around 18 to 22 weeks, though this may be felt sooner or later).

These early flutters can feel like butterflies, twitches, or even a sensation similar to hunger pangs.

Late into the trimester (around 6 months), your little bundle will become noticeably more energetic as his/her muscles grow stronger.

You may start to feel somersaults, strong kicks, and leg movements, but these won’t occur in a regular pattern until very late into your second trimester or early third trimester.

Fetal Movement Third Trimester

By the home stretch of your pregnancy, your now 7-month-old bundle is weighty enough to deliver punches, kicks, and rolls that almost sting and startle you with their power!

Fetal movements should now continue every day with lots of elbow and knee jabs felt as your baby turns over and stretches.

By 9 months, you’re approaching full-term, and those high-power kicks and turns will start to feel more like large lurching movements any time your full-sized baby turns over for their last few days or weeks in the womb.

Related Questions:

How Often Should Baby Move at 25 Weeks Pregnant?

At 25 weeks, your baby will respond to touch and sound a lot more. Loud noises, for example, may prompt them to kick or jump, and you may feel the jolt of each hiccup.

At this stage, babies are only just developing their pattern of movements, so don’t panic if there are quiet days as movement can be inconsistent.

How Often Should Baby Move at 27 Weeks?

By 27 weeks, you will begin to feel rhythmic movements as your baby starts to kick, stretch, and hiccup routinely.

Around this time, your baby will have developed a regular sleep and wake cycle too, according to the American Pregnancy Association, so you may notice movements more during the day or night.

Final Thoughts

By week 26 of your pregnancy, you should start to notice an increase in fetal movement in terms of strength and frequency.

It’s important to make a note of how many fetal movements (kicks, punches, rolls, etc.) you can feel in the space of 1 or 2 hours.

Try not to worry if the number of movements is low as activity in utero can still be inconsistent before week 28 — as long as your baby is moving, this is the main thing.

If you notice a sudden decrease in fetal movements or you are concerned about the number of movements, do not hesitate to contact your local maternity unit or healthcare provider.