Can Certain Foods Affect Fetal Movement?

Can Certain Foods Affect Fetal Movement?

Last update: 02 June, 2018

Can certain foods affect fetal movement? This question has produced a great deal of doubt and debate when it comes to what pregnant women eat.

The first food we think of when this question comes up is chocolate. Just the same, eating sweets in general tends to produce an increase in fetal movement .

Most mothers seek to interact with their little ones as much as possible while they’re pregnant. It’s common for us to put our hands on our bellies in order to feel the baby’s movements.

We also play music and shine lights to see if we can provoke some sort of reaction. Sometimes doctors themselves recommend eating certain foods to generate increased activity.

Babies in gestation move around several times a day without the need of external stimuli. 

Movement is a given – after all, your baby is alive and animate. Your little one can yawn, move her arms and legs, turn over and stretch, all within the comfortable confines of your belly.

The fetus moves because it’s healthy and developing normally. Her breathing, swallowing and suckling also create a certain level of movement. 

Pregnant mothers aren’t always able to detect these movements outside of the uterus. However, they can be easily observed in ultrasound images.

The relation between food and fetal movements

As we’ve said, babies are constantly moving throughout gestation, though the mother may not always be aware. For the mother to be able to feel her baby’s movements, there needs to be contact with the uterine wall. 

In other words, most of the unborn baby’s movements go unnoticed. However, an ultrasound image at 8 weeks of gestation will reveal a very active fetus.

Expectant mothers will likely have to wait until at least 16 weeks to detect her baby’s movements on her own. However, sometimes the fetus can make a sudden movement that’s abrupt enough to put pressure on the abdomen. 

Generally, this sensation occurs in relation to something the mother has eaten. Doctors indicate that it has to do with the influence of glucose levels.

Can Certain Foods Affect Fetal Movement?

During a 24-hour period, mothers should feel their babies moving at least 10 times a day. The movements will tend to increase in frequency about 30–60 minutes after the mother eats. 

All of the foods we eat can turn into glucose, which serves to stimulate the fetus. This substance reaches the baby through the umbilical cord.

Fetal movements occur, for the most part, when the mother is active, when there is noise or sound caused by vibrations in the womb, during the night, and after the mother has eaten. The freshly produced glucose reaches and activates the baby.

–Álvaro Cano. Perinatologist–

Therefore, we can affirm that foods do in fact affect the movements of the fetus. In other words, the normally subtle movements of the developing baby become more intense after the mother eats.

Furthermore, we can conclude that sweeter foods produce more activity because they generate more glucose.

But remember, food doesn’t necessarily have to be sweet in order to spark a reaction in your little one. Any food can lead to increased fetal activity.

Other stimuli that produce fetal movement

Spanish OB/GYN Guillermo Obando affirms that a decrease in sugar levels can cause the fetus to move less. In general, a mother’s nutrition has a direct relationship with the regular movement of her baby in the uterus.

But when the level of glucose in her blood increases, the baby will also receive the same increase.

In the same way, other foods are also related to fetal movement. For example, cold foods also cause an increase in activity. 

Furthermore, the mother’s activity level will also cause her child to move less or more. Therefore, doctors sometimes recommend waking the baby up by stimulating him or her with food.

Other stimuli related to fetal movement include lighting, noise and vibration. Towards the end of pregnancy, mothers will notice an increase in the intensity of their baby’s movements.

Doctors recommend counting a baby’s kicks in order to rest assured that everything is okay. If you notice insufficient movement, then the first thing you can do is stimulate your baby by eating something sweet.

Can Certain Foods Affect Fetal Movement?

The communication between your baby and the outside world isn’t as limited as you think!

Your little one can hear outside noises and even perceive some of your emotions. Developing babies can also connect through vibrations and other external changes.

However, the main link has to do with the substances that the pregnant mother puts in her body. Therefore, it’s very important to be careful about what you eat and drink while you’re pregnant.

What’s more, remember that tobacco, drugs and alcohol are all extremely dangerous during pregnancy. You should avoid them altogether in order to care for the life that’s forming inside you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.