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Causes of Hiccups in Babies in the Womb

Pregnant With Baby In Womb

Can you really feel hiccups in babies in the womb and why does it happen???

During pregnancy, you might notice several transformations in your body as your baby grows in your womb. You will feel diverse movements that will become stronger as your baby grows older.

Along with kicks and jabs, you might also feel slight, repeated spasms inside of your womb.

These spasms may seem like normal kicks, but they are actually fetal hiccups.

It is quite common for babies to experience hiccups in the womb, however, identifying the sensation can be challenging.

What Are Fetal Hiccups?

So what exactly are fetal hiccups? Quite simple; baby hiccups in your womb are the small movements baby’s diaphragm make as they learn how to breathe.

As your baby inhales, amniotic fluid eventually enters into their lungs, leading to contraction of the developing diaphragm. The result of this is baby hiccups in the utero.

What Causes Fetal Hiccups?

Doctors do not exactly know the reasons for fetal hiccups. Not all newborns have hiccups while in the womb.

However, it is believed that fetal hiccups are associated with the developing lungs of your baby, but that isn’t proven yet. 

Whenever a baby has hiccups in the womb, it is usually a sign that she is meeting her developmental milestones on time and that her progress is on track.

There are some common causes of hiccups in babies:

  1. Contracting Diaphragm

Fetal hiccups are closely related to the hiccups experienced by kids and adults. However, fetal hiccups are caused by a sudden onset of severe contractions or spasms of the diaphragm (this is the muscle that plays the role of the partition between the abdomen and the lungs).

Hiccups within the uterus are a reaction to breathing amniotic fluid within the amniotic sac.

After the central nervous system develops, the amniotic acid flows in and out of your baby’s lungs, thus making the diaphragm contract voluntarily.

  1. Compressed Umbilical Cord

While generally speaking fetal hiccups are normal and indicate normal development they can present in an extremely serious and alarming medical condition. A fetus can get hiccups when the umbilical cord is compressed or gets wrapped around the baby’s neck.

This normally happens in the second and third trimester of the pregnancy.

Jerky movements, prolonged and consistent bouts of hiccups is a possible indicator of umbilical cord compression and under these conditions, you should see your doctor immedicately.

Are Fetal Hiccups Normal?

Babies might experience hiccups in the womb long before you start experiencing the sensation. It is usually from your second and third trimester onwards that you will notice your baby hiccuping.

However, all mothers feel baby hiccups and fetal movements at different times.

Generally, if your baby hiccups or you experience movements in your womb, it is a sign that your baby is developing properly. Nonetheless, if you notice any fetal hiccups after 32 weeks of being pregnant for prolonged periods or consistently, ensure you visit a doctor as it could indicate a problem.

How to Stop Fetal Hiccups in the Womb

There are certain things you can try to ease fetal hiccups, however, there is no proven method for preventing your baby from hiccupping in your womb. Doctors normally suggest the following things:

  • Eat healthy food
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get enough sleep

Which is, let’s face it- pretty basic and generic.

The main thing is to always keep track of your baby’s movement in your womb. Ensure you pay attention to jabs and kicks as frequent fetal movements are a sign that your baby is developing properly in your womb. However, if you notice any reduced or unusual movement, you should consult your doctor at once.