Most women are feeling the baby move by 20 weeks. Kick counts is a test done in the third trimester to test that the baby is doing well. The early feeling of movement is called quickening. There is a huge amount of variation on when quickening happens, so don’t be concerned if you have not felt the baby move at 20 weeks.
Women who have had babies before tend to feel the movement earlier than first time pregnant moms. This is most likely due to the fact that experienced moms know what they are feeling. It is common to have a hard time distinguishing early fetal movement from gas or indigestion. By 20 weeks, most people can tell that the baby is moving. The amount of movement and the quality of the movement varies with each pregnancy. Some of the variation has to do with how active the baby is. Babies have their own personalities even before they are born. Some of the variation has to do with where the baby is positioned in the uterus, And some of the variation has to do with the individual body type of the pregnant mom. At 20 weeks it will still be small movements; you probably can’t see the movement on your skin. Your partner will probably not be able to feel it yet.
By 24 weeks, the movement will be more consistent and stronger. At 28 weeks, many women complain that the baby keeps them up at night. The amount of movement and the strength of the movement tends to peak around 28-32 weeks. As you get closer to the due date, the baby has less and less room. The quality of the movements change as well as the frequency.
There is a test called “kick counts” that can be done if you are not sure if the baby is moving enough. This is only really valid in the third trimester but is a way to be reassured of the baby’s well-being. At least once per day in the third trimester there should be a period of good activity of the baby. The way to test this is to drink some fluids to be sure you are not dehydrated. Lay down in a quiet place with no distractions and concentrate on the baby’s movement. You should be able to feel 10 individual movements in less than 2 hours. For most people, it will not take anywhere close to 2 hours to get the 10 movements, and once you feel the 10 movements the test is done and the baby is OK. If you can not feel the 10 movements, you should call your doctor or go in to be monitored.