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Fetal Hiccups: Why Do Babies Get Hiccups in the Womb

Have you ever felt your belly popping and it’s not a baby kick? Your baby has hiccups… Yes, even babies in utero can get hiccups, but why? I’m the doctor who is going to give you some cool fun facts that you probably didn’t know about your babies like what they are doing in there and even how to stop the hiccups.

baby hiccups in the womb

Why Babies Get Hiccups in the Womb?

Hiccups are one of the many different movements your baby makes while in the womb. It is perfectly normal for your baby to get hiccups in utero. They signify that your baby is developing well.

Fetal hiccups refer to quick little repetitive movements your baby makes while in the womb. The movements are caused by your baby’s diaphragm's contraction when it inhales amniotic fluid into the lungs.  

Fetal hiccups are similar to adult hiccups, but adult hiccups are usually followed by rapid air entry, rather than amniotic fluid.

Most women feel when their growing babies get hiccups, although some may confuse them with baby kicks. Your baby may begin hiccupping as early as late in your first trimester, but you may not notice them until late in your second trimester.

Some other first-trimester amazing side effects include morning sickness which I talk all about it in Episode 1, 2, 9, 13, & 60. If you want relief in seconds use the natural selection that OBGYN’s choose called NoMo Nausea. It’s a wristband used in hospitals that combines essential oils and acupressure to instantly stop your worst pregnancy nausea and vomiting. 


 

Most first-time moms-to-be notice their baby’s hiccups when they are 20 weeks pregnant while those who have had a prior pregnancy can notice their babies' hiccups as early as 16 weeks.

Your baby's hiccups are easily felt when your baby gets bigger. However, the frequency of fetal hiccups should decrease when you are a few weeks from giving birth.

What Causes Fetal Hiccups?

Your baby gets hiccups in the womb because of the contraction of its diaphragm as it practices breathing. They show that your baby is experiencing good developmental milestones.

When your baby gets hiccups, it indicates that its diaphragm is developing well, making it able to inhale and exhale amniotic fluid.

Fetal hiccups suggest your baby has an intact and well-functioning nervous system. A nerve activates the contraction of the diaphragm of the baby. When your baby gets hiccups, it shows that it is getting ready to breathe independently and survive outside your uterus.

When your baby gets hiccups in the womb, it also suggests that it is practicing vital reflexes such as suckling, which are useful when it is born.

baby hiccups in the womb

When Should You Be Worried?

It is usual for your baby to get hiccups, and you should not worry about them in most cases. However, when your baby gets hiccups several times a day, especially in the last weeks of your pregnancy, it could be a sign that it is not getting enough blood and oxygen. It can occur due to the compression or prolapse of the umbilical cord, which contains the blood vessels supplying your baby.

Therefore, if you notice frequent fetal hiccups in a day, it would best you inform your doctor as soon as possible. Cord compression or prolapse is associated with changes to your baby’s blood pressure, heart rate, accumulation of blood carbon dioxide levels, brain damage, and consequently cause stillbirth.

Experience strong and longer fetal hiccups after 28 weeks call for an evaluation. You may want to see your doctor to check if there is a problem and get reassurance to get peace of mind.

How to Stop Fetal Hiccups in Utero

While fetal hiccups are usually not painful, they may make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes they can be much distracting, making it difficult to relax – they may disrupt your sleep. Here are tips to help you stop fetal hiccups in the womb.

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Support your tummy using pillows to relieve pressure on your spine.
  • Perform moderate exercises that are safe to do.
  • Drink plenty of water to help you stay hydrated
  • Eat a healthy pregnancy diet.
  • Have a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Take a nap as necessary during the day.
  • Change positions and walk around.

While the above tips can help stop fetal hiccups, you also need to learn to embrace them until a time when they disappear.

stop fetal hiccups

How to cure hiccups for adults

Hold your breath, increases the amount of carbon dioxide & force the diaphragm that forces CO2 to stop contracting. 

Sound is your epiglottis involuntarily contracts and makes the sound.