Jerky Spastic Movements During Pregnancy

At some point during your pregnancy, you’ll feel your baby move. Feeling your baby move for the first time can be one of the most amazing moments during pregnancy. As an expecting mother, you may wonder what these movements mean. Don’t worry, most fetal movements are regular and only mean that the baby is growing well in the womb. However, you may experience jerky movements that don’t feel normal.

This is why it’s a good idea to learn about the different kinds of movements and when you need to call your doctor. 

Jerky Spastic Movements During Pregnancy

This post discusses everything you need to know about jerky movements during pregnancy and their implications on your pregnancy. 

When Do Babies Start Moving in The Womb?

Ideally, a baby starts to move in the belly around the 7th-8th week, although, you’re more likely to feel it later in your first trimester. Sometime between 16 and 22 weeks of your pregnancy, you’ll feel your baby move for the first time. The first movement, also called quickening often feels like “fluttering” or “butterflies”. Some women also describe the feeling as being like gas bubbles. 

As your pregnancy continues, the movements also progress to kicks, twists, swishes, and jerky movements. A study suggests that twitches and jerky movements are more common in the 1st and 2nd trimesters than in the 3rd trimester. 

What Causes Jerky Movements in the Womb?

Baby movements in the womb can occur for many reasons. By the 24th week of your pregnancy, you may experience jerky movements inside your belly. Don’t worry, this is usually not a cause for alarm. Typically, repetitive and rhythmic jerky movements in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters may be caused by:

  • Hiccups

 It seems weird to think your baby can suffer from hiccups while in the womb, but it is possible. Hiccups are normal for developing fetuses. When your baby hiccups, you can feel it as mild vibrations or twitches. It is also common for babies to cough or sneeze in the womb. These sudden movements may feel pretty uncomfortable; however, they aren’t a cause for alarm. 

  • Stretching

 As you approach your due date, your baby grows bigger and there’s less room for movement. It is only natural to expect your little one to want to stretch those tiny arms and legs. This stretching can feel like spasms, twitches, and thumps. 

You can also read this post on how to calculate your conception and due dates.

  • Muscle spasms

Sometimes, the jerky movement you feel in your belly is actually from you and not from your baby. Abdominal muscle spasms are common in pregnancy and can be mistaken for fetal movements. 

  • Startle: 

Once your baby reaches about 27 weeks, he or she can hear outside noise fairly well. Loud and unexpected noises can cause your baby to become startled and jumpy. You may feel this as a quick, sudden jerky movement. 

  • Irritable uterus:

This is a condition that causes your uterus to twitch. The spasms are usually irregular, and painless and are not enough to dilate your cervix. 

Can The Jerky Movements Be a Seizure?

Some expectant moms worry that the jerky movements they feel in their womb could be a pointer that their baby is having a seizure. While this is a possibility, the chances are very low.

Fetal seizures are extremely rare, and if they do occur, they are a result of an infection such as the Zika virus or a congenital anomaly. In most cases, these movements are perfectly normal and only indicate that your baby is growing well in your womb. If you have concerns about what’s causing the jerky movements you’re feeling, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. 

Jerky Spastic Movements During Pregnancy

What is Considered Normal?

Each pregnancy is unique in its way, so there’s no yardstick for what is considered normal. Different women will experience things in a completely different manner. 

Fetal movements are normal during pregnancy — as long as your little one is making their presence known, it’s a good sign that all is going well. Sometimes, you may experience random sequences of movements that are different compared to the rest, but this doesn’t immediately mean that there’s something wrong. Always refer to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy. 


Fetal movement is crucial to any healthy pregnancy. That’s the only way a mom can know that her baby is doing okay without visiting the doctor’s office. Fetal movements can be used as a standard measure of the baby’s well-being. 

Sometimes, rapid, jerky movements may cause moms to worry, but they are usually not a cause for concern. Your baby can make these movements for several reasons. It is always advisable not to assume the worst when these movements occur.

However, if you feel like there’s something wrong with the way your baby is moving, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. Also, it is important to keep a log of the types of movements you feel, when they occur, and how long they last. This will help you know when something’s off.