Why Does My Baby Move Around A Lot After I Eat?

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Does your baby seems a bit more active after you’ve eaten a large meal or suddenly start to kick after you’ve had a cold glass of lemonade? Developing babies react in the womb to the food and drinks that mothers consume by kicking, moving more rapidly, and in general being more active than just before the meal or snack. Not only do babies move more after you eat or drink something, but the things you eat and drink during pregnancy will contribute to your baby’s taste preferences for food later in life.

Which Foods Will Encourage a Moving Baby?

Kick Counts

A kicking baby is often the sign that parents look to of a healthy baby. There are various times throughout your pregnancy when your doctor might recommend that you perform what are known as “kick counts”. Because there isn’t a window into which you can peek to check on your baby’s overall health, you can use kick counts as one tool to check on your baby’s overall health. Your doctor might have a specific kick count time and number of targeted kicks, but a general rule of thumb is to time how long it takes to reach 6-10 movements. This target number of kicks should generally be reached in 2 hours. Be sure to count strong movements and not slight flutters. Kick counts should be monitored when you are resting and can adequately feel your baby moving. Reduced fetal movements can indicate a baby in distress. If you are concerned about your baby’s movements, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Encouraging Movements with Food and Drink

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One of the fastest and easiest ways to get your baby to move is to have a snack or eat a meal. While the food doesn’t directly go to your baby, when you eat your blood sugar is affected and that is shared with your baby almost right away. If you are trying to encourage your baby to move during a kick count session, try drinking a glass of orange juice. The natural sugars are absorbed quickly into your bloodstream and it is not full of empty calories.

Can My Baby Taste the Food I’m Eating?

Pregnant women often feel like their babies are kicking or moving in reaction to certain foods they eat. While your unborn baby doesn’t exactly start moving more to protest a spicy meal, the foods you consume during pregnancy do affect your baby. Research shows that your unborn baby is exposed to the flavors and smells of the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid is a reflection of the foods, beverages, and medications you take. As your unborn baby swallows this amniotic fluid, especially during the last trimester, he or she is experiencing your dietary choices. After birth the dietary choices you make will also be tasted by the baby in your breast milk. Before birth your baby learns from the food and beverages you eat which foods are desired and even safe to eat. You really are starting the foundation for healthy eating habits even before your child is born.

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Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”