Is It Normal If Your Baby Hiccups in the Womb?

Even when babies are still in the womb, they go through a lot of training. Your baby's heart gets stronger and they learn how to use their lungs. Their central nervous system will also become stronger and more functional with time. And, amidst of all this training, you might feel concerned about baby hiccups in womb. It is certainly part of the training, but it is still natural to feel a bit concerned about those movements.

Is It Normal?

Yes, fetal hiccupping is normal and is felt by many women during pregnancy. Generally, babies start hiccupping by the end of the first trimester, but most women are not able to notice those gentle movements. You may feel those movements late in your second trimester and they are going to be like mild, bumblebee kisses, but may cause movements in your abdomen.

There is usually nothing to worry about baby hiccups in womb because every baby does it occasionally and sometimes every day in the third trimester.

The frequency of fetal hiccupping, however, may be different for different women. Some may experience a series of rhythmic movements at specific times a day, but others may notice those movements occasionally. Both situations are normal, but you may want to talk to your doctor if you notice excessive hiccupping along with a change in your baby's movements. This is especially true after your week 32 because that is when fetal hiccups do not appear on a daily basis. It is possible to have a problem with the umbilical cord if your baby has more than three series of hiccups per day.

What Is Causing It?

You may have gathered the fact that fetal hiccupping is normal in most cases, but you may be wondering exactly what causes baby hiccups in womb. Here are some explanations:

1. Futuristic Reflexes

Some babies are very active and it seems they are too restless to make an exit. They are likely to pound your abdomen after regular intervals, but these movements help start the breastfeeding mechanisms. Babies imitate the breastfeeding process and end up getting those hiccups.

2. Contracting Diaphragm

These hiccups are sometimes the result of your baby breathing in the amniotic acid. After the development of the central nervous system, the amniotic acid goes through the lungs of your baby, which contracts the diaphragm. This involuntary contraction leads to the hiccups.

3. Compressed Umbilical Cord

Fetal hiccupping sometimes indicates a medical problem, such as compressed umbilical cord. It is a serious condition and requires immediate attention. A compressed umbilical cord limits air supply to your baby, which in turn can also affect the flow of blood to the fetus. Be sure to seek medical assistance if you are in your third trimester and feel any irregularity, reduced duration or intensity in the hiccups or normal fetal movement.

When Is It Something Serious?                  

As mentioned already, fetal hiccupping is nothing serious in most cases and is just a normal reflex. However, it may indicate a problem, especially in your third trimester. It could be the result of umbilical cord prolapse or compression. This compression can affect the supply of oxygen and blood to the baby. The problem usually occurs very late in pregnancy or during childbirth. Certain complications arising from cord issues are brain damage, buildup of carbon dioxide in baby's blood, changes in baby's blood pressure, and stillbirth. 

Some studies have also highlighted that hiccups may be the result of your baby being hyperactive due to umbilical cord compression. There may be an issue if you notice an increase in baby hiccups in womb after week 28 – seek medical attention if those hiccups happen 4 or more times each day. In fact, it is better to talk to your doctor if you notice a sudden change in the frequency and duration of your baby's hiccups. A simple ultrasound of fetal Doppler can help identify any possible issue.

Learn How to Count Kicks?

As you proceed with your pregnancy, you will notice your baby move more often. It is natural to feel uncomfortable and even concerned about those movements, but they usually indicate no serious issue. However, you can be on the safe side by learning to count kicks, especially in late pregnancy. This helps ensure that your baby is doing just fine. 

You can start in your third trimester or earlier if you want. Simply, notice how long your baby takes to make 10 movements, which could be anything like jabs, kicks, pokes. If your baby does not move enough, you may want to eat a small snack or have a glass of cold water. It may also help to push gently on your abdomen. It is worth mentioning that many women can feel 10 movements in no more than 30 minutes. However, your baby is healthy if he/she makes this many movements in a couple of hour. Be sure to check for those movements daily at the same time of the day. Call your healthcare provider if you feel there is a sudden change in the movement of your baby.

It is important to mention that while it is a good thing to have your baby moving in your womb it can be quite uncomfortable too. You can ease the pains, aches, and stress associated with fetal movements by lying on your left side. Be sure to use some pillows to keep your upper body elevated a little. You can try this at night to sleep better. Moreover, you should pay attention to your diet and drink plenty of fluids. Having an active lifestyle and regular physical activity may also help manage stress better. 

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