My Unborn Baby’s Got Hiccups! Pregnant Mom Worries – Is This Normal?

Fetal hiccups are all part of the fetus' development. Photo by: Guimi

Fetal hiccups are all part of the fetus’ development. Photo by: Guimi

  • Hiccups in Active Babies: “Hiccups and breathing in human fetuses” studied 45 low risk fetuses throughout the second and third trimester. Researchers found that there was a decrease in the number of hiccup episodes between 24 and 26 weeks. They also noted that the greatest amount of breathing occurred between 26 and 32 weeks gestation. This was the result of both an increase and duration of hiccups. Researchers also found that breathing and hiccups mainly occurred when the fetus was active and did not alter as the gestational age increased.
  • Learning to Breathe: Magnetographic assessment of fetal hiccups and their effect on fetal heart rhythm, tells us that researchers consider fetal hiccups to be a way for the fetus to prepare for the respiratory function outside of the womb.
  • Hiccups Increase Fetal Heart Rate: “The relationship between hiccups and heart rate in the fetus” examined the correlation between hiccups and the fetal heart rate. Researchers studied 1,456 fetal heart rate tracings from babies that were at least 20 weeks gestation and older to conclude that the fetal heart rate increases with hiccups.

Baby Hiccups: Normal Part of Being Pregnant

When you’re pregnant, your baby will most likely get hiccups – don’t worry, it doesn’t mean your baby is upset. It’s just part of his normal development – and could be a sign of health as well. It’s easy for Mom to worry when baby’s hiccuping a lot, or even if she’s kicking like a football player! If you are concerned about the amount of hiccups or lack of hiccups that your baby is having, or about how much your baby is moving in general, talk with your doctor.

Resources:

Kid’s Health. What causes hiccups? (2011). Accessed May 24, 2013.

Goldkrand JW, Farkouh L.Vibroacoustic stimulation and fetal hiccoughs. (1991). Journal of Perinatology. Accessed May 24, 2013.

Pillai, M. and James, D. Hiccups and breathing in human fetus. (1990). Archives of Disease in Childhood. Accessed May 24, 2013.

Popescu EA, Popescu M, Bennett TL. Magnetographic assessment of fetal hiccups and their effect on fetal heart rhythm. (2007). Physiological Measurements. Accessed May 24, 2013.


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Witter, F., Dipietro, J., Costigan, K., et al. The relationship between hiccups and heart rate in the fetus. (2006). The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine. Accessed May 24, 2013.

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH: Health, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Pregnancy

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