In pregnancy terms, quickening is the moment in pregnancy when the pregnant woman starts to feel or perceive fetal movements in the uterus.

The first natural sensation of quickening may feel like a light tapping, or the fluttering of a butterfly. These sensations eventually become stronger and more regular as the pregnancy progresses. Sometimes, the first movements are believed to be gas or hunger pangs.

A woman’s uterine muscles, rather than her abdominal muscles, are first to sense fetal motion. Therefore, a woman’s body weight usually does not have a substantial effect on when movements are initially perceived. Women who have already given birth have more relaxed uterine muscles that are consequently more sensitive to fetal motion, and for them fetal motion can sometimes be felt as early as 14 weeks.

Usually, quickening occurs naturally at about the middle of a pregnancy. A woman pregnant for the first time (i.e., a primigravida woman) typically feels fetal movements at about 18–20 weeks, whereas a woman who has been pregnant more than once (i.e., a multipara woman) will typically feel movements around 15–17 weeks.

Quickening. (2016, September 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:21, September 8, 2016, from