Are Fetal Hiccups Normal?
In a word, yes. Fetal hiccups are not only normal; most people find them to be incredibly cute. Of course, it can be kind of alarming the first time you look down and see your belly jiggling and jumping. Know that they are just another interesting part of the adventure of being pregnant.
Fetal hiccups tend to begin around the second trimester and can continue throughout the pregnancy. Sometimes they come at regular intervals, occurring at the same time each day. In other cases, they are completely random. Most mothers enjoy feeling their baby move inside of them and find the hiccups reassuring and comforting.
For the majority of women, fetal hiccups aren’t painful – though some report that their stomach muscles feel a little sore after a hiccupping bout. Think of it as your baby’s way of helping to keep your abdominal muscles in good condition. Fetal hiccups are actually one of the more gentle and subtle ways your baby lets you know that he or she is there.
Some Interesting Tidbits About Fetal Hiccups
- Many moms report that their babies tend to hiccup immediately after being startled or jostled around.
- Don’t feel alone if your fetal hiccups freaked you out a little the first time. A lot of women say they were somewhat unnerved the first time they experienced them.
- Fetal hiccups can’t occur until a certain point during pregnancy; the baby’s nervous system has to be developed enough.
- While not a lot of research is available, most theories hold that the fetus breathes or drinks in amniotic fluid, which causes the hiccupping as fluid enters the lungs and diaphragm. Some feel that this is a natural method of strengthening the breathing apparatus for use once the baby is born.
All experts agree that fetal hiccups are a good thing, and are a sign that your baby is developing normally. Doctors will usually tell you that the baby is simply “practicing” to breathe air when he or she is born.
- Doctors are pretty sure that the hiccups do not cause the baby any pain or discomfort.
- If you think the hiccups are dramatic now, have your doctor hook you up to a Doppler or an ultrasound machine if you experience them during a visit. This type of equipment amplifies hiccups so people other than the mother can share in the experience. Older siblings usually enjoy getting to hear and see their new little brother or sister in action.
- Many moms-to-be report that they most often feel their baby hiccupping at night. This could be because at night there is less noise and distraction, and you tend to slow down to a point where you are more aware of baby’s tiny movements.
- It is likely that your baby will continue to hiccup regularly once he or she is born. This is healthy for the development of the diaphragm and isn’t a cause for concern unless the hiccups last for a very long time or seem to be causing your baby pain.
If you feel that what you are experiencing is not simply due to fetal hiccups, or if you have more questions about them, talk to your doctor or midwife. You should always ask about things that concern you regarding your pregnancy. It’s important to be your own advocate and to help yourself to maintain a calm and stress-free mindset by being an informed and involved partner in your care. There is no question that isn’t okay to ask your physician. In a patient/doctor conversation, there truly are no stupid questions.