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Fetal Hiccups: What Do They Mean And When To See A Doctor?

5 min read
What Do They Mean And When To See A Doctor?

What Do They Mean And When To See A Doctor?

Pregnancy is that phase in the life of a woman where she has to be extremely aware of everything going on within her body. She will experience various types of movements from her baby. These movements will get stronger as time progresses. With other actions such as rolls, jabs, and kicks, a pregnant woman can also feel the hiccups of her baby, which might be a bit surprising to her, especially, if it is her first pregnancy. However, you don’t need to worry because, in this article, you will find all the relevant information you need regarding fetal hiccups.

What Are Fetal Hiccups?

When your baby starts to practice breathing, the diaphragm will create certain movements. These movements are fetal hiccups. As the amniotic fluid gets into your baby’s lungs when he inhales, it will make the diaphragm contract which will then cause hiccups. Fetal hiccups are a normal part of the development of the baby. It will rarely be a sign of an issue with the umbilical cord.

What Does It Feel Like When Your Baby Hiccups In The Womb?

Fetal hiccups will feel like continuous taps or kicks in the womb from your baby. You will be experiencing this once or several times a day. These jerky or rhythmic movements are a sign that your baby is developing well and is in a healthy state. Another important fact about the hiccups of the babies is not all of the women will feel the hiccups. However, they will deliver healthy babies.

Why Do Babies Get Hiccups In The Womb?

Fetal hiccups are an indication that your baby is developing well in the womb. However, there are specific reasons why fetal hiccups occur, which are:

  • Diaphragm contractions, which happen when the baby inhales amniotic fluid that causes fetal hiccups.
  • When your baby is developing reflexes, he can get hiccups. While he is in pursuit of sucking thumb or fingers, he can get hiccups.
  • Fetal hiccups can also be the reason for brain .practicing reflux. Expelling wastes and swallowing food can also cause fetal hiccups. Through this process, the muscles in the heart and respiratory system of the baby get stronger.
  • Fetal hiccups can also happen due to umbilical cord compression leading to a limitation in oxygen flow.

When Are Fetal Hiccups Common?

Fetal hiccups generally start towards the end of the second trimester, and it will become stronger during the third trimester. When the development of your baby’s arms and legs gets underway after the 9th week of pregnancy, fetal hiccups will start to become more and more common. The intensity level and frequency of the fetal hiccups will reduce as the time progresses in your pregnancy. However, if the frequency and the intensity of fetal hiccups rise within the third or the fourth week of your pregnancy which is continuing till the due date, then you have to consult with your doctor because it could be an issue with the umbilical cord.

How To Ease Baby Hiccups

How To Ease Baby Hiccups

First of all, fetal hiccups are normal. However, it can be a bit annoying at times. Fetal hiccups can prevent you from having a sound sleep or distract you from certain important work. Here are some of the measures you can take to ease off the discomfort of fetal hiccups:

  • When you are feeling fetal hiccups and its rhythmic movements, you need to take a walk as it will change the position of your baby, leading to the relaxation of diaphragm. It might also help your baby to sleep.
  • Low level of fluids can also cause fetal hiccups. Therefore, having water can helps in this situation as well.
  • Eat some light food which has a good source of protein as it will make your body relax, which will facilitate your baby’s sleep.
  • Holding onto your breath can be too risky for your child, and therefore, you should avoid doing it to ease fetal hiccups.

You should know that these are just a few tips and not a correct way of stopping hiccups. Fetal hiccups are very much usual as it is a part of the development of your baby and will ease up on its own.

Is It Hiccups Or Your Baby Kicking?

You understand when whether your baby is kicking or having hiccups by just moving around. If your baby is kicking, then you will sense the movements in various parts of your belly, and once you change your position, it will stop.  These movements are the kicking of your baby. However, when you feel the movements in a rhythmic pattern, even though you are still, it will be fetal hiccups. After some time, you will identify whether it is kicking or hiccups very easily.

When Should You See A Doctor

When Should You See A Doctor

When Should You See A Doctor?

Hiccups are, more often than not, is nothing but a normal reflex of the baby. However, fetal hiccups towards the end of the last trimester can be an indication of fetal distress as the result of umbilical cord compression. Therefore, frequent fetal hiccups during this stage need to be brought to the notice of your doctor.
Once you passed your 32nd week of pregnancy, fetal hiccups will not happen on an everyday basis. Therefore, draw the attention of your doctor to the matter if you experience:

  • Fetal hiccup every day after the 32ndweek of pregnancy
  • Hiccups that persist over 15 minutes
  • Three hiccups any day after the 32nd week

You need to consult with your doctor in case you feel persistent the fetal hiccups for a longer period. You doctor may suggest you undergo an ultrasound to determine your baby’s condition. Owing to this fact, when it comes to pregnancy,  you have to be attentive towards all unusual movements or fewer movements including the fetal hiccups.
At the time of pregnancy, in spite of being vigilant about the movement of your baby, you should stay calm and consult with your doctor if you observe some sort of abnormal movement. Staying calm is equally important.  your doctor will determine your baby’s condition easily with ultrasound. Generally, fetal hiccups will not be a cause of concern.

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