The first movements of the baby cause special joy and awe. Mom remembers these feelings for the rest of her life. Especially when it’s your first pregnancy.
In addition to tremors, there may be other “signals” that the baby sends. For example, hiccups. The expectant mother has many questions, is this normal, does it harm the baby? Very frequent or very intense hiccups cause restlessness and anxiety.
Experts assure that the reflex does not harm either the mother or the baby. The physiological reaction occurs after the clamping of the nerve that passes through the diaphragm and other internal organs. The pinched nerve sends a signal to the brain. The rhythmic contraction of the diaphragm begins and excess air exits through the mouth.
Millions of expectant mothers are faced with fetal hiccups during pregnancy, so there is no reason to worry.
How to identify hiccups
Every woman has a different pregnancy scenario. Fetal hiccups are attributed by experts to the characteristics of the organisms of the mother and child. The baby can hiccup every day or maybe once a week. This may change at different stages of pregnancy. Some pregnant women do not experience fetal hiccups at all.
It is very easy to understand that the baby has hiccups. A pregnant woman may feel a rhythmic shudder and measured tapping. You can feel a slight vibration if you put your hand on your stomach. There may be ticking on one side of the abdomen. During hiccups, the lower abdomen may throb strongly.
The duration of hiccups is also individual. Some may hiccup for 1-2 minutes, others even for an hour. If the baby hiccups from 1 to 7 times a day, this condition is normal and you should not worry.
How long does it take for a baby to start hiccups in the womb?
Moms most often experience hiccups in the third trimester after 35 weeks of pregnancy. All organs and systems are formed during this period. This also applies to the lungs. The baby can start hiccups at the 32nd week because at this time he is training to breathe.
The period from 33 to 36 weeks is considered the peak of fetal activity. Movements during this time can be intense but are often confused with hiccups. Some women may experience hiccups after 28 weeks, others a few weeks before giving birth. Everything here is very individual.
Experts assure that hiccups are even useful: it will be easier for the child to take the first breath after birth. This is great preparation for breastfeeding.
Are hiccups dangerous for a baby or not?
Hiccups do not pose a threat to the baby if it is caused by physiological causes. The baby is training respiratory function or has swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid. This can have negative consequences if hiccups are a symptom of intrauterine hypoxia.
Hypoxia in the fetus can be caused by anemia, diseases of the cardiovascular system, lung diseases, and premature detachment of the placenta in the mother. The prolonged squeezing of the fetus and circulatory disorders can also cause hypoxia. Children with developmental delays are at risk.
If oxygen starvation lasts for some time, it can lead to asphyxia and even death. It is worth contacting a gynecologist if hiccups occur very often or are accompanied by excessive activity of the baby.
Causes of a baby’s hiccups in the womb
Baby hiccups are common. This is not a pathology and the expectant mother has no reason to worry. The unconditioned reflex is associated with the period of activity of the baby.
The reasons may be different: training of respiratory functions, uncomfortable postures for the baby, and swallowing a large amount of liquid. Doctors often associate hiccups with an expectant mother’s overindulgence in sweets. Hiccups can occur if the fetus is very large or the volume of amniotic fluid is very small.
The respiratory organs are gradually preparing to function outside the mother’s womb. Hiccups can occur if the baby trains the respiratory function. The developed diaphragm and lungs are gradually preparing for independent work. The child has to breathe immediately after birth without preparation and training.
The child inhales and exhales more often after 35 weeks of gestation. A liquid enters the nasopharynx, which should be disposed of. Amniotic fluid entering the respiratory tract causes discomfort and hiccups. It can occur at any time of the day.
Swallowing large amounts of amniotic fluid
The cause of hiccups may be swallowing a large amount of amniotic fluid that enters the lungs. Ingested fluid is excreted by the kidneys. The diaphragm contraction occurs if its volume is very large and the baby begins to hiccup.
This may be because mom ate a large number of sweets. The baby may swallow more liquid than usual if he already has a taste. Experts advise not to abuse sweets. It is better to replace sweets with fresh fruits and berries.
Uncomfortable position of the fetus
The baby gains weight in the third trimester and there is not much space in the mother’s tummy. The situation becomes more complicated if the fetus is large. Hiccups in a baby may occur because of this. If a mother spends a lot of time in a sitting position, crossing her legs, this creates discomfort. The respiratory organs are pinched and the baby begins to hiccup.
It is worth moving a lot even in the last weeks of pregnancy to avoid such a situation. Especially useful walks in the open air. Take every opportunity to walk unless specifically instructed by your doctor. It is also an excellent prevention of weight gain. It is better to change positions during sleep if the baby often has hiccups at night.
Strong physical pressure on the fetus
The exit of air from the baby’s lungs becomes more difficult if the expectant mother sits a lot of time, and wears uncomfortable clothes or a tight bandage. It is difficult for him to breathe and hiccups may begin. Prolonged physical pressure can even provoke the development of hypoxia and have other negative consequences.
It is important to wear comfortable clothes and often change your position during sleep and rest. It is also worth making sure that there is no physical pressure on the fetus.
Hypoxia in a baby
Hiccups can signal oxygen starvation of the fetus. At the same time, this condition is also evidenced by the unusual activity of the baby or its complete absence for a long time. This condition is dangerous because one of the nerve centers of the fetal brain is irritated, and there is an impulse to contract the diaphragm.
There are times when air access is difficult due to entanglement with the umbilical cord. This can be confirmed by ultrasound diagnostics. Do not hesitate to visit a doctor if there is a suspicion of hypoxia. He will prescribe tests and examinations to accurately determine the condition of the child.
When to consult a doctor
It’s normal for your baby to have hiccups several times a day. At the same time, his motor activity is the same as always. If the mother notes regular violations of the function of the external respiration of the fetus or her condition worsens, it is better to inform the doctor about this. He will specify the frequency and duration of hiccups and examine the patient.
Ultrasound is used to detect pathology of the respiratory system in a child. The reliable modern method allows you to quickly identify violations in the placenta and umbilical cord causing difficulty breathing.
Use the cardiotocography method to measure the number of heartbeats. This indicates intrauterine fetal hypoxia if there are a lot of them. Keep in mind that not all babies are prone to hiccups in the womb. There is no need to worry about her absence either. The main thing is that the baby feels safe and comfortable in his mother’s tummy.
What to do if hiccups are uncomfortable
When a baby has hiccups very often, it causes discomfort for the expectant mother. Correcting the situation will help to follow simple tips.
Calm walks – You can take a walk in the fresh air if the hiccups do not go away for a long time. Gentle rocking will help the baby calm down.
Healthy food – A future mother should reduce the consumption of sugar and desserts. Replenish your diet with healthy foods, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Drink enough fluids.
Exercises for pregnant women – Breathing exercises and simple exercises for pregnant women help get rid of hiccups. Recommend knee-elbow position. Several sets of 4-5 minutes will be enough.
Stroking the abdomen – Gentle touches and the mother’s voice have a calming effect on the baby. A few minutes of conversation will help to distract and calm down.
How not to provoke hiccups in a baby
Mom can determine the exact cause of hiccups on her thanks to observation. The expectant mother should listen to the signals of her body and follow the movements of the baby.
Correct posture for sleeping and resting – You can sleep on your stomach and back only in the first trimester. This position leads to the pressing of the main vessels through which blood circulation occurs between the mother and the fetus.
Excessive physical activity – The expectant mother is advised to observe the daily routine. Night sleep should be at least 8-10 hours. Daily rest of at least 1 hour is useful. It is better to give up excessive physical exertion and long walks.
Fresh air – The lack of fresh air causes headaches, dizziness, and nausea in pregnant women. It is worth it as often as possible to walk in the fresh air and often ventilate the room.
Rejection of bad habits – Everyone knows about the dangers of smoking during pregnancy. This applies not only to active but also passive smoking. Try to avoid such places.