Why Do Babies Hiccup So Much In The Womb?

Why Do Babies Hiccup So Much In The Womb?

safe_image (Small) Pregnancy is a beautiful journey and you will be surprised to know how it will change you completely as a person. The transformation of a mother from a woman is surreal and especially when it is your first time you will completely be in awe! You know mothers automatically know what is best for their babies because they have a divine connection even before the baby is born and is still developing in their wombs.

Each new feeling that you experience will make you go ecstatic. Just like you talk and communicate with your baby while they are in your wombs, similarly even your babies want to talk to their mommies back. They use their own ways like kicking or having hiccups or anything that can make you feel that they are listening to you and want to talk to you just as much as you do. All you need to do is look for them and experience the most beautiful phase of your life completely!


Many pregnant women are curious as they want to know what their baby is doing when they feel those rhythmic movements later in pregnancy. It is always better to have some kind of movements than no movements at all and this is a golden tip that all expectant mommies should know! Most are surprised to learn their baby even have hiccups! That is right, many babies have the hiccups while they are in their mommy’s womb and some babies have the hiccups multiple times per day. This is not something you need to be tensed about as awareness regarding what fetal hiccups is and why they are caused reduces anxiety in the mothers and helps them enjoy those movements during pregnancy. Here are a few details regarding the same:

What are Foetal Hiccups?

Hiccups are nothing but actually a two way process. At the first instance, it will make you suck in lots of air and at the second instance it will cause an immediate closure of your airways. This will block the passing of the air from your lungs and result in a hiccup. It is a very common phenomenon in the adults but you will be surprised to know that babies have more hiccups than adults. It is so natural that even babies in their mom’s womb have frequent hiccups know as fetal hiccups.


Foetal hiccups appear to be extremely normal and almost all moms will feel the babies’ hiccups at least once if not on a regular basis. Fetal hiccups are a natural process in the way a fetus breathes. They do start in the first trimester itself but for the mommies it takes time when they can actually hear. You will be able to realize it only after a few more weeks of pregnancy. It should make you happy as foetal hiccups are actually a sign that shows it is undergoing a proper development process inside your womb. There has not been an overwhelming amount of research on fetal hiccupping in the womb, although there is some speculation as to why it happens.

First of all, only more mature fetuses hiccup in the womb because their central nervous system is adequately developed in order to allow this to happen. The developing nervous system is practicing its job of sending signals to the muscles and diaphragm to work. When the diaphragm contracts, the baby will suck in amniotic fluid and thus cause a hiccup effect.


The lungs are not yet fully developed and thus are not used to process oxygen, so drowning or choking cannot occur. There is no danger or discomfort for the baby. Oxygen is still being carried through the umbilical cord which is the tube that is connected to the mother’s uterus on one end and to the baby’s belly button on the other and is cut at birth. After the baby is born and breathing begins through the nose and mouth, hiccups may still occur after this point. They are harmless and will subside in time so this should not be a cause of worry at all for the expectant mommies.

Causes of Foetal Hiccups:

640px-Feindiagnostik_UltraschallFoetal hiccups may occur anytime during pregnancy or may never occur at all. This really has no meaning or cause for concern in either direction. You can read below as to what are the more specific reasons for the hiccups to occur:

Contracting Diaphragm.

If contacting diaphragm is the cause of your baby having hiccups then it surely is a reason for you to rejoice. This is because a contracting diaphragm can only cause a mature fetus to have hiccups. So it means that the central nervous system of your baby is developed and it is sending signals to their brain to contract the diaphragm so that the baby can begin breathing.  It will help to regulate your baby’s breathing and other respiratory movements and result in healthy lung functioning after your baby is born. It will also help to adjust your baby’s heart rate during the third trimester.


Cord Compression.

Sometimes the doctor may order a diagnostic ultrasound test in cases where the hiccups are increased and more frequent. This happens because occasionally the cord will wrap around the neck of the fetus and restrict oxygen flow. This will result in an increase in the baby’s heart rate and also decreases the blood supply movements from the mommies womb’s to the fetus.  That is why you may notice that your baby is having frequent hiccups. In general, nothing normal comes of it but it is better to see it on a screen and confirm that there is nothing wrong.

Reflex Development.

Hiccups can occur when the fetus is developing the reflex to suckle. This is another ‘practice’ for when the mother breast feeds the baby. This is interesting and important because what this actually does is that it prevents the milk from aspirating into the lungs and choking the baby when he is having his mother’s breast milk.



Foetal hiccups are created anytime the brain thinks it is time to start practicing reflexes for everything from feeding to eating and expulsion of waste material. It is actually a way of preparing your little one on how to breathe after the come into this world. So you can consider your foetus having a hiccup as a learning process of survival in this world. This is normal and very healthy as this process also strengthens the heart muscles and respiration.

Dealing with Foetal Hiccups:

An infant starts its hiccups from almost the first semester itself but it is only when a mother reaches the third trimester; foetal hiccups can actually be felt. Most physicians’ recommend that this should also be treated the same as a foetal kick is treated and advises the mother not to be overly concerned about it.

  1. The mother can then monitor them as she would monitor the baby’s foetal kicks so that she can report them to her doctor immediately if they continue for an inordinate amount of time. In this way, the mother does not have to sustain any unnecessary anxiety.
  2. Occasionally, there may be some confusion as to whether or not the mother was feeling a foetal hiccup or just the baby moving around. This sometimes happens when the mother has an anterior placenta; this can double as a barrier. It is important that she remains relaxed and put herself in a calm state when this happens.
  3. Foetal hiccups are actually good for the baby as it helps them to soothe the baby. It helps to relieve the pressure on the organs and diaphragm of the baby.
  4. She can also do soothing and bond promoting exercises for the baby like talking, singing, classical music or meditation.
  5. A fun thing to do is to keep a record of when the baby hiccups in the uterus. This can be a fun piece of information to store in the baby book or share with the child when he/she is older.

After delivering your baby if you notice that your baby is still having those hiccups then do not fret as even this is a good sign which means your baby’s breathing is normal. You can also be assured as now your baby will be in the safe hands of the doctors and can get any medical attention quickly that they might require.


There are common chances that some mothers confuse foetal seizures with foetal hiccups. Do not worry as foetal seizures are a very rare occurrence, but it is always advisable to be careful. During pregnancy, you should be very mindful and consult your doctor or ask for their opinion if you have a doubt about something. A major thing which all mothers should know is how to differentiate between a foetal seizure and a hiccup. If the movements are quite intense and rhythmic, then chances are it is a seizure. So try to carefully notice what you are feeling and get an ultrasound done to be on the safe side.


Almost all women feel their foetus hiccupping at least once during their pregnancy if not more. Some women don’t recognize the rhythmic movement as hiccupping, but most do. In addition, some babies will hiccup on a daily basis and others even more frequently. If the baby is hiccupping on a regular basis, then it is better to mention it to the doctor just to be assured that everything is normal. Happy Pregnancy!!!!