Pregnancy is the time when your body goes through immense changes. From the uncomfortable morning sickness, to extreme exhaustion, to raging hormones, there is a lot that you go through during this time.
As your pregnancy advances, you’re able to feel the kicks. Slowly these flutters turn into punches, rolls and you’ll likely also start to feel the rhythmic movements of fetal hiccups.
While a lot is known about the rolls and kicks, there is much to learn about pregnancy and baby hiccups in the womb. For example, how do baby hiccups in womb feel like? What does it mean when I feel fetal hiccups when I lay down?
If you’re equally keen, then we’ve got you covered. In this article, we take you through the know-how of baby hiccups during pregnancy.
Baby Hiccups In The Womb: What To Expect
Fetal hiccups are normal and there is no reason to worry and/or panic. You may feel them or can also observe them during the second trimester ultrasound.
Your baby may have begun with the hiccups late in the first trimester or early in the second. There is also a chance that you wouldn’t have felt them that early at all.
By weeks 18 to 20, you’ll notice your baby’s movements and it is usually during this time that you notice foetal movement, also referred to as quickening, for the first time. If you are an experienced mum, you may feel quickening earlier in the subsequent pregnancies.
For new mums, it may take a little longer as it is based on different factors such as the placental position and weight of your baby.
Why Do Babies Have Hiccups?
Not much is known about pregnancy and baby hiccups, but there is one popular theory that says it’s a way for babies to regulate the amount of fluid in the amniotic sac. By week 13 of pregnancy, your baby begins to swallow amniotic fluid.
By the time you have reached mid-pregnancy, the amniotic sac contains up to 26 ounces of fluid. The pressure from the buildup of the amniotic fluid actually prompts babies to hiccup and then swallow the excess.
Another theory explains that baby hiccups in womb everyday help with lung maturation and are a result of your baby practising breathing.
A third theory suggests that baby hiccups in late pregnancy could be a sign of a problem with the umbilical cord compression or prolapse. However, this theory is based on limited studies in animals and has not been validated in humans.
In fact, baby hiccups in late pregnancy are a good sign and it is associated with a lower risk of stillbirth. However, do note that if it happens excessively, especially at a later stage during the pregnancy, it can be a distress signal.
How Your Little One Is Developing
Baby hiccups during pregnancy tell a great deal about the development of your little one.
Respiratory system: The hiccup is a good indication that your baby’s diaphragm is developing.
Nervous system: Baby hiccups signify that the nerve that controls the diaphragm has been activated. This will help to confirm that your baby’s spinal cord and brain all are intact and doing their respective tasks. In other words, your baby is developing well enough neurologically and will be able to survive outside the womb.
Baby’s reflexes: Baby hiccups are also an important milestone because it assures you that other than breathing, your child is practising yawning and thumb-sucking.
How Do Baby Hiccups In Womb Feel Like?
So what do fetal hiccups feel like? They usually last only a few minutes and go away on their own.
Do fetal hiccups feel like a heartbeat? They feel like small jerking movements. Observe for a rhythmic sensation in your womb. It may feel like a twitch, or pulsating sensation much like a muscle spasm. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to distinguish them from your baby’s kicks.
Most pregnant individuals feel fetal hiccups in the second or third trimester. Some women may notice baby hiccups in womb every day several times a day. Meanwhile, others may feel and notice them only once in a while. Some mums may not feel the hiccups at all and that is also normal.
Pregnancy And Baby Hiccups: How Much Is Normal?
Image courtesy: iStock
There’s no hard and fast rule to determine how frequently baby hiccups should occur. They can happen often randomly and also several times a day. Don’t stress, if you can’t feel your baby’s hiccups.
As long as you are experiencing other baby movements know that your baby is healthy and developing well.
Fetal Hiccups When To Worry
If the frequency of baby hiccups increases during the last three to four weeks leading up to your due date, contact your doctor. This will ensure that your baby is doing fine and the umbilical cord is not an issue. Whenever you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Fetal Hiccups When I Lay Down
Even though hiccups are normal they can be quite distracting, especially when you are trying to get some sleep. You can try changing positions, maybe walk around and drink water to see if the hiccups have stopped.
Here are other things you can do to become more comfortable with your baby’s movements in the womb:
- Lie on your left side
- Use pillows to support your bump and reduce back pain
- Do non-strenuous exercises as cleared by your doctor
- Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet
- Maintain a regular bedtime schedule, and take naps during the day
Count Your Baby’s Kicks
Mums, do note that your baby will move a lot as your due date approaches. Just as you want to know when to worry about fetal hiccups, you may worry about these movements or even feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s a good idea to count kicks in late pregnancy. Paying attention to fetal movements can ensure that your baby is developing normally.
Here’s how you can count your baby’s kicks in the womb:
- At the beginning of your third trimester (or even earlier if you have a high-risk pregnancy), allot some time to count how much time it takes for your baby to complete 10 movements. These include jabs, kicks, or pokes.
- A healthy baby normally moves a lot of times in two hours.
- Do this every day. Better if you do it at the same time each day.
- If your baby does not seem to move much, try drinking some cold water. You can also eat a snack. In addition, you can push your stomach gently to wake them.
Remember that feeling your baby’s hiccups during pregnancy is normal. If you feel something concerns you, do not hesitate to contact your doctor for your peace of mind.
Updates by Romy Pena Cruz
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