The 411 On Fetal Hiccups
Just like us, babies can get a mean case of the hiccups. When your little bean has them while you’re pregnant, the sensation can take you by surprise. Rest assure, most hiccups are part of normal fetal movement. So just sit back and enjoy the ride.
What causes baby hiccups?
While the exact cause of fetal hiccuping is not known, it may be related to central nervous system and lung development. There currently are no known links between fetal hiccups in the womb and behavioral development in babies. However, if your baby hiccups frequently in the womb you might notice this continuing after he or she is born (although this isn’t always the case).
When you’ll feel it
Many women feel hiccuping by the ninth month of pregnancy, but some might feel the sensation later in their second trimester. As space becomes a premium in your womb, you might notice the hiccuping sensation more, although this activity varies with each baby and it’s also normal to not feel hiccuping sensations at all.
What does a baby hiccup feel like?
Like most fetal movement, the sensation can vary. Some might feel a faint flutter and others might see their belly jump. Typically the movement happens in a rhythmic pattern that might help distinguish it from other fetal movements. The hiccups can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and can occur once or several times a day.
What to do
Unfortunately the old techniques of holding your breath or getting a scare won’t be able to help your baby. Just enjoy the movements and take note of when they occur. Documenting the hiccups will be fun for your child to hear about later and can help you detect any possible abnormalities.
If the hiccups are frequent or occur for substantial lengths of time, let your healthcare provider know.