Pregnancy

Women feel phantom baby movements years after being pregnant

Australian researchers have found that women can experience phantom baby kicks for up to three decades after giving birth.

Women feel phantom baby movements decades after being pregnant

The “phantom kicks” can last for decades, with some women experiencing these sensations up to 28 years, according to a new survey.

The study, conducted by Monash University, found that 40 percent of the 197 women surveyed, had felt phantom fetal kicks after their pregnancy.

On average, women reported feeling the kicks for almost seven years post-partum, describing the physical sensations as “convincing”, “real kicks” or “flutters”

20 percent of women said the kicks happened on a daily basis, while 40 percent said they experienced them at least once a week.

The authors of the study believe that in the months post-delivery, some sensations of phantom kicks are probably attributable to bodily recover.

“However, as women continue to experience these sensations for many years post-partum recovery cannot be the only contributor to the experience.”

They do wonder if it is because are more in tune with their body after pregnancy and mistaking normal body sensations for baby kicks.

During pregnancy, women are getting to know their baby and its movements, with doctors telling us what to expect etc.

“The mother pays close attention to these sensations and bonds with her baby and obstetric care providers direct her to pay close attention to any reduction in the frequency of movements,” the authors note. “Thus, the mother’s self-model of her body and the origin of sensations within it is updated.”

Philip Corlett at Yale School of Medicine told NewScientist, “After pregnancy, a woman’s brain could still be expecting those sensations to occur, causing some change in the body”, he explains.

Have you suffered from phantom baby kicks since the birth of your child?

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tracy-hardy
written by:

Tracy Hardy

Tracy has been a digital content producer for the past 9 years. Mum of two boys, slowly finding her way through the tween and teen years at the same time. Beach lover. Terrible housekeeper. Tea drinker. Wine sipper, who sadly can't eat cheese or ice cream. Life is cruel!