When Can Other People Feel Baby Kick? A Guide for Expectant Parents

Pregnancy is an incredible journey filled with milestones and excitement. Feeling your baby’s movements for the first time is one of the most thrilling experiences for any mom-to-be. It allows you to connect with your growing baby in a whole new way, and it’s only natural to want to share this joy with your loved ones. But when can other people see the baby kick from outside the pregnant belly? This comprehensive guide will explore the timeline, factors, and tips for when your partner or family members can feel those precious baby movements.

What Are Baby Kicks?

Baby kicks refer to the movements and motions a pregnant woman feels from her developing baby in the womb. These movements are also commonly known as fetal movements or “quickening.” They are early signs of a baby’s presence and growth during pregnancy.

As a baby develops, usually around the second trimester of pregnancy (around 18-25 weeks), the expectant mother begins to feel subtle flutters or gentle, rhythmic motions within her abdomen. These sensations can range from soft nudges to more pronounced kicks, punches, or rolls as the pregnancy progresses.

Feeling these baby kicks is an exciting and reassuring experience for expectant parents, as it indicates that the baby is active and growing inside the womb. Over time, these movements become stronger and more noticeable, and they are an essential way for the mother to bond with her unborn child.

Understanding the Timeline of Baby’s Movements

As each pregnancy is unique, the timeline for feeling a baby’s movements can vary from person to person. Many women begin to feel the baby’s movements around 18 to 22 weeks into their pregnancy, but some may notice it sooner. According to Dr. Sara Twogood, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, those early kicks and rolls are often subtle. They can be easily mistaken for stomach gurgles or gas bubbles. As the pregnancy continues and the baby gets active, you can quickly notice and recognize their movements.

However, feeling the baby’s movements from the outside is a different story. It may take a little longer for your loved ones to feel those kicks and jabs. Generally, partners and family members can feel a baby’s kicks from the outside around weeks 24 to 28, although this timeframe can vary and extend from 20 to 30 weeks. Understanding that this timeline is flexible and can differ depending on individual factors is crucial.

When Does It Happen?

As a mom-to-be, you might be the first to notice those delicate flutters and kicks. But when can your partner, family, or friends share the experience? Here’s a breakdown of when others can feel your baby kick:

First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)

In the early stages of pregnancy, the first trimester is a time of rapid fetal development. During this period, the baby is still quite tiny, and their movements are generally not strong enough to be felt by the mother. However, some expectant mothers report experiencing subtle flutters or flutter-like sensations in their lower abdomen. These gentle sensations, often described as “butterflies” or “bubbles,” can be the earliest signs of the baby developing and moving within the womb. It’s a reassuring feeling for the mother, as it signals the presence of the growing life inside her.

Second Trimester (Weeks 13-26)

The second trimester, often called the “honeymoon” period of pregnancy, is a time of significant change. Between weeks 18 and 24, the magic of feeling the baby’s movements truly begins for many women. As the baby matures and develops, their movements become more noticeable and clear. The mother will likely start feeling her baby’s kicks, punches, and wiggles during this stage. These movements are a source of joy and connection between the mother and her unborn child. Notably, during the second trimester, others may also be able to feel the baby’s movements by gently placing a hand on the mother’s belly. Partners, family members, and close friends can share in this heartwarming experience, which helps create a deeper connection between the baby and their loved ones.

Third Trimester (Weeks 27-40)

As the pregnancy progresses into the third trimester, the baby’s kicks and movements become more frequent and forceful. By this stage, the baby has significantly grown in size and strength, and their movements can sometimes be quite vigorous. This is the phase when other people are most likely to feel the baby’s movements simply by touching the mother’s abdomen. Partners and family members can readily experience the baby’s kicks, rolls, and nudges, fostering closeness and anticipation as the due date approaches. These powerful movements are not only heartwarming but also serve as a reassurance of the baby’s well-being, indicating that they are active and thriving in the final stages of pregnancy.

When can other people start feeling baby kicks?

As an expectant parent, you may eagerly await when your partner, family members, and close friends can share the joy of feeling your baby’s kicks. The good news is that others can start feeling the baby’s kicks, usually around the 20th week of pregnancy. This is when the baby’s movements become more pronounced and can be felt outside. However, remember that every pregnancy is unique; some may feel the kicks earlier or later.

Factors that affect when others can feel baby kicks

Several factors come into play when feeling a baby’s movements from the outside. These factors can affect how well your partner or loved ones will be able to feel the baby kick:

Maternal Weight

The maternal weight can play a role in how easily others can feel the baby’s movements. If the expectant mother is overweight or has excess weight around the midsection, it might be more challenging for someone to feel the baby’s kicks by placing a hand on the belly. The movements have to be stronger or more exaggerated to be felt from the outside.

Location of the Placenta

The location of the placenta can influence the ability to feel a baby’s kicks. Suppose the placenta is located at the front of the uterus (anterior placenta), between the baby and the belly wall. In that case, it can make it more difficult for others to feel the movements. In contrast, if the placenta is tucked behind the uterus (posterior placenta), it may be easier to feel the kicks.

Position of the Baby

The baby’s position can impact the movement’s visibility and detectability. If the baby faces outward towards the belly, it can be easier to notice the kicks and jabs. On the other hand, if the baby is facing inward towards the back, it may be more challenging to feel the movements from the outside.

How do you encourage others to feel baby kicks?

Sharing the joy of feeling baby kicks with loved ones can be a beautiful bonding experience. Here are a few ways to encourage others to feel the baby’s kicks:

  • Communicate with them: Let your partner, family, and close friends know you want them to feel the baby’s kicks. Share your excitement and enthusiasm, and express how much it would mean.
  • Create a comfortable environment: Find a quiet, calm space where everyone can gather to feel the baby’s kicks. This can be a cozy corner in your home or during a prenatal appointment.
  • Guide their hands: Place your hands over the spot where you feel the baby’s kicks and then guide the hands of others to the same spot. This will help them understand where to feel for the movements.

Bonding experiences through feeling baby kicks

Feeling the baby’s kicks can create powerful bonding experiences for everyone involved. It allows others to connect with your growing life and builds a sense of closeness. For partners, feeling the kicks can deepen the emotional connection between them and their unborn child. It can also provide a sense of reassurance and involvement for family members and close friends as they witness the miracle of life.

The significance of others feeling baby kicks

When others can feel the baby’s kicks, the pregnancy journey brings a sense of shared joy and excitement. It allows loved ones to actively participate in the experience of getting a new life into the world. Feeling the kicks can strengthen relationships and create lasting memories for everyone involved. It also helps others develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the incredible changes happening within your body.

Common misconceptions about feeling baby kicks

There are some common misconceptions surrounding feeling baby kicks that are important to address. One misconception is that only the mother can feel the baby’s kicks. While the mother may feel the kicks more frequently and intensely due to her closer proximity to the baby, others can feel them, too. Another misconception is that feeling the baby’s kicks is a physical sensation. It is a deeply emotional journey that can trigger various feelings, ranging from amazement and delight to enthusiasm and affection.

Real Moms’ Experiences with Feeling Baby Move from the Outside

Every pregnancy journey is unique, and the time when others can feel the baby move can vary greatly. Let’s take a look at some real moms’ experiences with their loved ones feeling their baby’s movements:

  • “I kept trying to get my husband to feel the kicks and punches I’d been experiencing for weeks, but every time he touched my belly, the baby would go still. Finally, at 25 weeks, he felt a big one!” – Junebug.
  • “I think around 20 weeks, my husband could sense little jabs coming from my belly.” – Rosebride.
  • “It wasn’t until 23 weeks that he finally felt her, but he didn’t like to press on my belly, and she didn’t always move when he was ready to feel her. He really could feel her at 24 weeks.” – Johnson.
  • “Mine was at 22 weeks. I didn’t fully grasp what was happening until I saw my tummy move as if someone were poking me from the inside out.” – wiglsworth26.
  • “About 23 weeks for me because I have an anterior placenta, which can delay the feeling.” – Jane.
  • “My husband couldn’t feel her until around 27 weeks, even though I’d been feeling her move since about 17 weeks.” – mrsain1105.
  • “I think it was around 23 weeks. He could feel those little taps on his hand.” – Joe.
  • “My husband felt the baby for the first time right after we returned from our 20-week ultrasound.” – brandie_larue.
  • “I’m not sure why, but my husband and I could feel it very early (and me too when I placed my hand on my stomach) – at exactly 16 weeks.” – kmgourley

These personal accounts highlight the range of experiences when it comes to feeling a baby kick from the outside. Everyone’s journey is different, and what matters most is the joy and connection you feel with your baby.

Tips to Help Others Feel Baby Kick from the Outside

While the timing of when others can feel a baby move may be out of your control, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of your loved ones experiencing those precious movements:

Pay Attention to Timing

Baby’s movements are often more active in the evening or at night when you’re settled. Take advantage of these times to have your loved ones touch your belly. By aligning their presence with the baby’s active periods, they are more likely to feel the kicks and jabs. Pay attention to your baby’s kick counts and use them as a guide for when your loved ones should try to feel the movements.

Help Baby Move In-Utero

The baby may not be active when your loved ones try to feel the movements. You can try a few tricks to encourage the baby to kick. Lying on your left side can position the uterus to stimulate the baby’s activity. Additionally, consuming something cold or sweet, like juice or ice water, and playing music can help awaken the baby and trigger movements.

Apply Some Pressure

When you feel the baby moving, guide your loved one’s hand to the right spot on your belly. Encourage them to apply gentle pressure, which can help them feel the baby more easily. If there are any concerns about the amount of safe pressure, consult your doctor for guidance.

Don’t Give Up

It’s common for the baby to stop kicking the moment someone tries to feel them move. This can be frustrating, but keep going. Feeling the baby’s movements from the outside can take time and patience. Eventually, the movements will become visible to others, providing wonderful and entertaining moments.


Can the baby’s kicks be seen from the outside?

Yes, as the pregnancy progresses, you might be able to see the baby’s kicks from the outside. It usually happens during the latter part of the second trimester or early in the third trimester.

Is it possible for the baby to kick too much?

While variations in movement are normal, a significant increase or decrease in fetal movements should be discussed with a healthcare provider. It’s essential to monitor your baby’s movements and report any concerns.

What does it mean if others can’t feel the baby kick?

If others can’t feel the baby kick, it’s likely because the baby’s movements are still subtle or the baby’s position in the womb hinders them from feeling it.

Should I be concerned about not feeling the baby kick as often as before?

A decrease in fetal movement should be addressed with a healthcare provider, as it may indicate potential concerns. It’s crucial to consult a medical professional if you observe notable changes in your baby’s activity.

Can the baby’s position change, affecting when others can feel the kicks?

Yes, the baby’s position in the womb can change frequently. If the baby moves to a more accessible position, it becomes easier for others to feel the kicks.


Feeling the baby’s kicks is a remarkable experience that others can share. Understanding when others can feel the kicks, encouraging their involvement, and creating a supportive environment can deepen the bond between your loved ones and your unborn child. Through this shared experience, you will create lasting memories and strengthen the relationships that will support you on your journey to becoming parents. So, embrace the joy of feeling the baby’s kicks together and celebrate the miracle of life.

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