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Why Did No One Tell Me About 'Phantom Baby Kicks'?!

Oh my good giddy god, why did no one tell me about ‘phantom kicks’ before I had my son?

If you’ve had a baby (or more than one), you’re likely no stranger to the bizarre sensation in your stomach that feels like a baby squirming, even if there’s no way that you could be pregnant! So many of our mummies have rushed out for pregnancy tests, had blood tests done, and even ultrasound scans, trying to figure out what on earth this freaky feeling is!

Why did no one tell me about this bizarre post partum symptom?! It put a fright into me as we weren’t ready for another baby, and it cost me a fortune in pregnancy tests.

What causes ‘phantom kicks’?

If you’ve ever felt bubbles, rolling, shifting or kicking in your belly and thought ‘blimey, this feels like a baby’, you’re probably wondering what on earth is causing it. There is no officially recognised cause but theories are…

  • Your uterus contracting back after giving birth. This can take longer than you’d think.
  • Your internal soft tissue and connective tissue shifting back slowly after being displaced.
  • After being pregnant, you become way more attuned to your body and sensitive to gas, nerve twitching, vein pulsating and muscle spasms, which feel uncannily like a little baby having a dance in your pelvis!

Dr Nick Petrovic, Head of Clinic at the Mind Profile Psychology Clinic explained to Mums Grapevine;

“Because the uterus can take several months to return to its previous state a mother may experience the sensation of kicks for long periods following pregnancy. A woman tends to pay very close attention to these sensations during pregnancy. This habit can follow on into postpartum experiences.”

So, there we go mummies! It’s perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. If you’ve had a negative pregnancy test, take a deep breath and save yourself some money instead of obsessively retesting like many of us do. If you develop any other symptoms, or need some more reassurance, see your doctor!

Very occasionally, some mummies may not excrete HCG in their urine which means home tests won’t show as positive. If this has ever happened to you, it’s worth requesting a blood test for reassurance.

Tell us in the comments; have you ever experienced phantom baby kicks? Or did your ‘phantom’ kicks turn out to be a surprise baby?

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

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