Do Babies Know When Dad Touches Belly? Complete Guide!

two hands in tummy

Before birth, the fetus can hear sounds and feel a touch from outside. But, do babies know that you as a dad touch the mom’s belly when you want to feel their kicks or other movements? According to my research which I did before and after my daughter was born, it’s possible!

Moms are used to placing their hands on their belly, reassuring themselves that their little one is alive and well. Dads can join in too by stroking mom’s belly and may even get a vigorous kick in response to their touch! 

Does your baby know when dad touches the mom’s belly?

Research has shown that the fetus starts to respond to touch on the belly from around six months, especially if it’s the mom’s hands. If the dad is actively involved with the pregnancy by stroking the mom’s belly and talking to the fetus, the baby may start to respond to his touch. 

Why does the baby move when dad touches belly?

Stroking your belly when pregnant is a wonderful way for mothers to bond with their babies during pregnancy. Touching mom’s belly often and talking to it also gives dads the opportunity to create a close bond with their little ones before birth.

If your baby moves when dad touches mom’s belly, it’s because they’re comfortable with him and are enjoying the sensation. Of course, it could come down to luck and hitting the time of day when your baby is more active! 

From 16 to 25 weeks, the mother will start to feel the baby’s first movements resembling “flutters’, “nervous twitches’, or “butterflies.” By the third trimester, both the mother and father will be able to feel kicks or elbow jabs. While this can happen up to a few times every hour, fetal movement is most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Watch this informative video talking about when the baby first feels touch and hears voices. This will give you a better understanding of how babies respond to sound in the womb. 

Why does baby stop moving when dad touches belly?

Babies respond readily to the mother’s touch if she’s been stroking her belly from the start of pregnancy. If the dad hasn’t been consistently engaging with the baby from the beginning of gestation, the little one is less likely to respond because he’s an unfamiliar sensation. 

Another reason for not moving when dad touches the belly is because it’s the baby’s quiet time or they’re sleeping. Knowing the timing of fetal movement and engaging during that time increases the dad’s chances of getting a response from the baby when he strokes the mom’s tum. 

Where should dad touch mom’s belly to feel their baby kick?

Your baby’s first movements, known as quickening, are subtle and felt low in the uterus which is normally at the pubic bone at around 12 weeks. By 20 weeks, the uterus is located at the mother’s belly button

Touching the mom’s stomach in the right places during the different stages of gestation will increase your chances of feeling the baby’s movements. Dads can start to feel their baby kick higher up in the uterus after 20 weeks so aim for the belly button area if you want success!

Does baby know when mom touches belly?

If the mom has been touching her stomach regularly during her pregnancy, the baby will know it’s her hands especially when their sense of touch starts to develop from 12 to 17 weeks. Understanding sensory development in utero helps both parents to know when their baby will respond to strokes on the mother’s pregnant belly.

Fetuses can hear and recognize sounds from outside early on and if the mom talks at the same time as touching her belly, the baby will associate her touch with her voice. 

Why does my baby move when someone touches my belly?

Your baby responds and moves to the maternal touch from as early as in the second trimester. They do this because it feels comfortable and they recognize mom’s touch. But why does a baby move when someone else touches the mom’s belly? Here are some good reasons.

  • The timing is right: Fetuses from 22 to 24 weeks respond to touch best after the mom has eaten a meal or late at night. 
  • The right position: If the baby is lying facing outward toward the belly, they’re more likely to feel someone’s touch and respond to it. 
  • It feels familiar: When someone touches the mom’s belly often during pregnancy, such as her partner, the fetus will start to recognize it and respond to it by moving. 
  • The right spot: If someone touches the right spot, such as by the belly button after 20 weeks, the baby could move in response. 

The baby’s movements in the womb are sporadic. At times, an outsider won’t get a response to their touch and this can be disappointing, especially for dads. Knowing when and where to touch the mom’s belly helps others to feel the baby’s actions.

When can a baby start to feel me when I touch my belly?

A study on fetal behavior responses to maternal voice and touch showed that unborn babies in the womb displayed more arm and head movement when the mom touched her belly. Babies start to feel their mother’s touch on the abdomen from 26 weeks with increased movements in the third trimester to external stimuli. 

By the third trimester, your baby will even respond to your touch by kicking back! Rubbing or massaging your pregnant belly from the beginning is a good way to start bonding with your little one. 

The lasting effects on the baby when mom’s belly is rubbed

A 2015 study showed that there are lasting effects on the unborn baby in the womb when the mom’s belly is rubbed on a consistent basis. The most common result of parents who practice regular “tummy rubs” during pregnancy were babies with an easy temperament three months after birth. 

The same study revealed that babies who received gentle tactile stimulation during gestation were higher in approachability, adaptability, and persistence. They were also lower in a negative mood. Overall, the lasting effects of belly rubs during pregnancy can result in an easy-going baby which is associated with overall wellbeing

Ways to bond with your baby as a dad before birth

While it’s easier for a mom to develop a close bond with her baby from conception, there are ways dads can form a special relationship with their little one before birth. Here are some great ideas!

Spend quality time with mom and unborn baby

Spending quality time with mom during her pregnancy could include resting with her and stroking her belly. Talking or singing to your unborn baby during this time will also help you, as the dad, to start creating a close bond with your baby before birth. Mom can help by placing her hand on her belly at the same time as a dad to reassure the little one that all is well.

Understand the pregnancy process and fetal development

Dads can get in from the beginning by exploring and understanding the pregnancy process and fetal development. This way, fathers know what is happening inside the womb and what the mother is experiencing during each trimester. Knowing when the baby’s senses develop allows you to engage with your little one from the outside by using touch and your voice to connect. 

Attend prenatal classes with the mother

Attending prenatal classes with the mother gives you opportunities to touch the mom’s belly, understand the different gestational milestones, and be fully prepared for the actual birth. 

You’ll learn ways of supporting the mother during her pregnancy, cultivating a closeness between you and your partner which benefits the unborn baby as well. You’ll also find out when to prepare your hospital survival kit as a dad!

Go to ultrasound appointments

Going with your partner when she has an ultrasound is a wonderful way to bond with your baby when you see them move for the first time. Suddenly, your baby becomes the “real deal” when you actually see it inside the womb. A small study showed that dads-to-be who saw their baby’s first ultrasound were able to bond better with them. 

Understanding the difference between 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasounds can enhance this experience, especially during your baby’s first ultrasound, providing clearer insights into your baby’s development.

Decide whether to cut the umbilical cord or not

Modern-day fathers have the choice of cutting the baby’s umbilical cord at birth. While for some fathers this may seem like a squeamish chore, other dads may see it as an opportunity to bond with their newborn. 

Deciding whether dads should cut the cord is a personal decision and one that every dad must choose for themselves without any expectations or outside pressure. 

I did cut the umbilical cord when my daughter was born and I decided to do that proactively, so before the big day happened. It was a great choice and it was the first step for me as a dad, who wants to be involved in my daughter’s development.

Can a baby hear dad’s voice in mom’s womb?

Your baby can hear dad’s voice from inside mom’s womb from as soon as 23 weeks. The more they hear it, the better they’ll recognize it and respond to it. 

Can babies sense their father’s touch in the womb?

Babies can sense their father’s touch in the womb if the dad regularly engages in the practice of rubbing the mom’s belly. It all comes down to consistency and actively choosing to create a close bond with your baby when they’re still a fetus in the mother’s womb. 

By performing regular belly rubs, especially from the second trimester, you can form a special relationship with your unborn baby before birth.

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