That rhythmic bouncing of your tummy can make you giggle in delight, but you may also be wondering, “why do babies get hiccups in womb?”. Some moms even worry a little that this is not normal. Rest easy, it is perfectly normal for your baby to get the hiccups while nestled inside of your womb. This article will explain why this happens, when you can expect to start feeling your baby’s hiccups, and what they feel like. Learn more about this fascinating part of being pregnant!


What Causes Fetal Hiccups In the Womb?

You notice your tummy bouncing rhythmically, and you wonder “are those hiccups?” Yes, they most likely are. Fetal hiccups are pretty much the same as children and adult hiccups. The diaphragm is contracting, only for some different reasons.

Outside the womb, we get hiccups because our diaphragm has gone into a little spasm. This is usually due to trapped air in the abdomen, or eating too fast. Inside the womb, your baby is actually showing signs of development when they get the hiccups.

Why do babies get hiccups in womb? Here are the reasons:

Breathing Practice

Hiccups are actually a sign that your baby’s respiratory system is developing. Inside your womb, they actually use their respiratory muscles to pull amniotic fluid into the lungs, and push it back out. They do this by working the diaphragm up and down. It can cause a case of the hiccups, which shows the diaphragm muscle is working well. This actually begins around the third month of pregnancy, but baby is still too tiny to feel anything yet.

 Healthy Spinal Cord

Hiccups in your baby can show healthy development of the nerves in the spinal cord. This means the spinal nerves are able to control the diaphragm. It is also an indication that your baby has healthy reflexes.

Swallowing Fluid

Lastly, your baby may have the hiccups for the very same reason you get them. Swallowing too much, too quickly. Babies do suck their thumb or fingers on occasion in the womb, this can also cause them to swallow too much amniotic fluid and get the hiccups.

When Can I Expect to Feel My Baby Hiccup?

Your baby has been able to hiccup since the first trimester of pregnancy, but they are still to small to be felt. Early hiccups may be felt towards the end of the second trimester, but they are felt the strongest sometime in the third trimester.

If you have never felt a baby hiccup before, you may not even be aware of what is happening. Fetal hiccups feel like repetitive light kicks or taps from baby. The rhythm of fetal hiccups will be just about the same as your hiccups. You may also notice an increase in kicking, and even wiggling, because hiccups tend to make them “mad.”

What to expect:

Your baby getting the hiccups can be unpredictable, so you can’t really gauge the health of your infant by the hiccups. Doctor’s encourage “kick counts” instead. Make sure you count hiccups in your baby the same as kicks when you do your “kick counts.” Still you may notice your baby gets the hiccups as much as a few times daily, but then maybe not hiccup for a few days. As long as you are feeling something from your baby every day, then things are probably just fine.

In your third trimester, you may notice hiccups from your baby more often. This is because the respiratory system is “full-speed ahead” in the final stages of development. However, hiccups may slow down in the weeks or days prior to your due date. One thing to note is that if hiccups decrease in the final weeks, but start up again and happen often you should call your doctor. An increase in hiccups may show an issue with the placenta or umbilical cord.

Tips for Easing Baby’s Hiccups

Now that you know the answer to, “why do babies get hiccups in womb,” you should also know if there are any tips or tricks to help ease them.

Your baby getting the hiccups is a perfectly normal thing, but it can get annoying at times. It may even be a distraction from other things you are trying to focus on. They may even interrupt your sleep. Here are some tips to maybe help ease things a little.

  • Try a Walk. Try getting up and walking around a little. This may shift baby’s position to help relax their diaphragm. It may even put baby to sleep, which will also help relax those muscles.
  • Drink Water. You may be a little low on fluids yourself and this can affect baby. Try drinking an extra glass of water.
  • Pelvic Rocks. Another way to shift baby and get them to relax is to do pelvic rocks. Get down on your hands and knees and rock your pelvis up and down. This also helps relieve pressure off your lower back.
  • Eat Some Protein. Eat a light meal or snack with some protein. Cheese and crackers or peanut butter on apples. Protein may help relax your baby and put them to sleep.
  • Don’t Hold Your Breath. One thing some people do to try and get rid of hiccups is hold their breath. Breath holding when you are pregnant can actually be dangerous for your baby. Try to stick to the other remedies that don’t involve cutting off oxygen.
  • Try Chamomile Tea. Chamomile has sedative properties that can help relax both you and baby. Make sure you check with your doctor before using herbal supplements, but chamomile is usually deemed safe in pregnancy.
  • Keep in mind that these are only tips, and your baby’s hiccups may just have to go away on their own. It is the same as when we get the hiccups and sometimes nothing really helps, but time. After all, why do babies get hiccups in womb? They are just a normal part of development.