Yes, You Can Experience Phantom Kicks After Birth

Fetal kicks are one of the most exciting stages in pregnancy. But this sensation can go on for years after giving birth. Here's why they happen.


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Fetal kicks are one of the most reassuring stages of pregnancy. Unlike a swollen belly, nausea and other pregnancy symptoms, fetal kicks are that stage where you truly get to connect with your baby and make sure that they're alive and well. Surprisingly, you can still feel a sensation similar to your baby kicking and moving around on the inside for months or even years after giving birth.

Phantom kicks are when you feel these baby kicks except there's no baby inside you! Some women experience this sensation long after birth or loss of birth. Although not much research has been done on phantom kicks, according to an online survey done on 197 women, 40% of the surveyed women said they experienced phantom kicks. On average, the women felt phantom kicks for 6.8 years after birth One woman reported feeling them for 28 years!

Why do they happen?

Although phantom kicks are a widely experienced phenomenon, there’s still no definitive explanation regarding why they happen. However, one possible explanation relates to the fact that as the uterus grows during pregnancy, it’s nerve receptors also increase in growth. Feeling phantom kicks after pregnancy could be due to these nerves firing. A similar situation to phantom kicks is when amputees feel their limbs even after they were removed. It’s like your baby was once a part of you and your brain for some reason still perceives it as if it’s there.

Another explanation regarding phantom kicks is that they’re simply gastrointestinal or digestive movements. With all the changes going on in your body while recovering from pregnancy, it’s normal to have heightened awareness. This may cause you to focus too much on otherwise normal feelings such as gases or digestive movements.


Are phantom kicks normal?

Phantom kicks usually shouldn’t be a cause of concern but they could affect your postpartum mental health. Not everyone feels the same about phantom kicks. They could make you feel nostalgic but for others, phantom kicks don’t come with such pleasant emotions. A stillbirth is a saddening and heartbreaking experience. And while some mothers might be trying to recover from these experiences, phantom kicks can disrupt this process by aggravating symptoms of anxiety.


If you feel like your phantom kicks aren’t normal or they’re affecting your mental health then book an appointment with your doctor.




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