21 December, 2018

Fetal Hiccups: What they are and should you see a doctor?

Fetal hiccups refer to the little movements that the diaphragm makes when the baby begins to practice breathing. The amniotic fluid enters into the baby’s lungs when it tries to inhale, and causes the diaphragm to contract, causing hiccups. These are nothing to worry about and are a normal part of fetal development.

Causes of Baby Hiccups

Fetal hiccups occur due to various reasons such as:

  1. Contractions in the diaphragm are one of the main causes of fetal hiccups. As the fetus sucks in amniotic fluid, the diaphragm contracts, causing the hiccups.
  2. Development of fetal reflexes, where the fetus is trying to suck fingers or thumb can also cause hiccups.
  3. Cord compression can also lead to fetal hiccups when the umbilical cord winds along the fetal neck, limiting the flow of oxygen.
  4. The brain may find it necessary to practice reflux when swallowing food or expelling wastes that might also lead to fetal hiccups. It is a healthy process that strengthens the heart muscles and respiration.

Ways to ease Fetal Hiccups

Baby hiccups do not pose any health problems to either the mom or the baby. However, they could be extremely annoying and disturb you, especially when you’re trying to sleep. Here are some ways to ease the discomfort from fetal hiccups:

  • When you feel the hiccups, try taking a walk. This will shift the baby’s position, relaxes the diaphragm and even make the baby sleep.
  • Fetal hiccups could also develop when you’re low on fluid levels. Drink enough water to avoid discomfort.
  • Eat a light snack or meal containing protein. This can help your body relax and helps your baby sleep.
  • Avoid holding your breath to stop the hiccups. This may not be good for your baby’s health.

These are few tips that may help stop the fetal hiccups. In most cases, they go away on their own. Fetal hiccups are harmless and do not require medical attention. However, if you experience a sudden increase or if they last longer or feel stronger than usual, see your doctor about it. An ultrasound can help the doctor understand your baby’s condition. For any other query about fetal development, see our doctors at KIMS Cuddles.

*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.

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