When you’re pregnant, well-meaning people will often tell you the same thing – ‘Oh, it’s so wonderful when you feel the baby move; it’s such a magical feeling’. Whilst this is of course true, for those of us who’ve spent hours feeling as though they were being beaten up from the inside, the magical feeling can pall quite quickly. For something with only tiny legs and even tinier feet, a baby can deliver some kicks of surprising power and force!
Of course, babies in the womb may kick for all sorts of reasons (we assume – as it’s impossible to actually do a survey in utero). Perhaps they’re exercising their legs in the cramped space, perhaps they’re bored, perhaps they like the feeling of their feet bouncing off your bladder. It wasn’t so long ago that pregnant mothers were told to count the kicks of their unborn children and advise their doctors if the frequency dropped below a certain rate. That advice is no longer given but it’s certainly something to be aware of your baby’s kicks and how frequent they are – if you’ve gone a day without feeling any movement at all, it would be best to seek medical advice and if you have any concerns at all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If, however, you’re just fed up of feeling like a punch-bag, there are a few things you can do to try to settle your little Jackie Chan down:
Go for a walk
Movement seems to lull babies to calmness, perhaps to sleep (this is why newborns tend to settle more easier when carried or rocked – it mimics the movement of the womb when you walk). If you’re stuck in one place, like public transport, you could try rocking or swaying from side to side (ignore the strange looks you might get).
Avoid caffeine and spicy foods
You shouldn’t be having too much caffeine anyway and even a small amount may stimulate your baby to extra movement. Spices might produce the same effect (as well as give you terrible heartburn).
Play soothing music
There have been some studies that show that unborn babies were calmed by listening to classical music. It might be worth a try, if only because it will probably calm you down too.
Do something to distract yourself
Try and focus your mind on something other than the kicks and the discomfort might magically lessen (a useful trick to try in labour too).
In the end though, there’s only so much you can do to settle your baby in the womb. Those little, or big, kicks show that your baby is strong, health and vigorous and that’s something to be devoutly thankful for, no matter how bruised your insides might be feeling.