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Baby hiccups in the womb -

Baby Hiccups in the Womb: Normal or Not?

Baby Hiccups in the womb are one of the worries of moms, It’s okay to want to understand what it feels like and know if it is safe or not for your baby to experience this while in the womb. If you are in your second or third trimester and suddenly feel like popcorn popping in your belly, it likely means your baby has hiccups in the womb. 

  • What do baby hiccups in the womb feel like?
  • When should I be worried?
  • When is it too much or little? 
  • We’ve got the answers to your questions, mom.

What do Baby Hiccups in the Womb Mean? 

Baby hiccups in the womb
Source: Unsplash

Baby hiccups in the womb are the tiny movements the baby’s diaphragm makes when they begin to practice breathing. As baby inhales, amniotic fluid enters their lungs, causing their developing diaphragm to contract. This results in a slight case of hiccups in utero.

During pregnancy, movement of the fetus may be felt between weeks 16 and 20, but it may take longer in some cases. Doctors call the first fetal movement “quickening” or “fluttering.” It is often such a quiet movement that you have to be still and pay close attention to notice it.

While some women can feel their baby move as early as 15 weeks, others do not notice it until about  20 to 22 weeks. It varies for each person and depends on several factors. It does not necessarily mean the fetus’s health with sooner movement is better than the one with later movements. Baby Hiccups in the womb are also termed fetal hiccups

Are Baby Hiccups in the Womb Normal or Not?

Yes, fetal hiccups in the womb are absolutely normal in most cases and do not mean something is wrong with your baby.

In a study published in 2017 in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 150 women who had stillbirths in the third trimester answered a poll regarding their memories of fetal movement, including fetal hiccups. These women’s responses were compared to 500 women who had live births or were still pregnant during the same time period.

About 80 percent of the women in both groups remembered experiencing fetal hiccups, but there was no considerable difference between the responses of either group of women, which suggests that fetal hiccups are not associated with negative pregnancy outcomes. 

Why Does my Baby Hiccup in The Womb? 

One theory states that babies hiccup in the womb to regulate how much fluid is in the amniotic sac. However, there is little information about why babies hiccup in the womb. 

Another theory explains baby hiccups in the womb as a healthy way for your baby’s lungs to mature or as a result of practicing breathing. 

It has been suggested that fetal hiccups in late pregnancy could indicate a problem with the umbilical cord, like compression or prolapse. This theory is based on limited animal studies and is not proven in humans. Hence it is not acceptable. 

What Happens During Fetal Hiccups?

Diaphragms in fetuses work the same way they do when babies are born. Breathing is controlled by the diaphragm, which is an intermittent, rhythmic movement. Fetuses do not breathe air but rather amniotic fluid surrounding them during pregnancy. 

The diaphragm (a muscle below the lungs) moves down with each inhalation. This process causes a downward and outward displacement of the abdomen.

Instead of the rising and falling of the chest with breaths like an adult would, fetuses and babies tend to involve their tummies more. This gentle movement is not detectable by the pregnant mom.

Hiccups occur at that same rhythmic motion as breathing but in a more forceful manner. The entire fetus moves in a jerking motion with each hiccup, which is detectable by many pregnant moms. Like in infants and adults, fetal hiccups occur for a short, consistent period, then go away independently.

Hiccups or Kicking: How to tell the difference

Hiccups normally have a regular rhythm and take place in the same part of the belly over and over for a few minutes. Baby hiccups in the womb will feel like a jerking or pulsing jump, which may slightly move your stomach.

On the other hand, Kicks are not rhythmic and will occur all around the belly. Kicks may occur when your baby’s head, arms, bottom, or feet bump against your insides, and they may feel and look more like a rolling movement than a quick jab.

When Should I be Worried about Fetal Hiccups? 

Even though fetal hiccup is safe, worry is not good for you during pregnancy or other times. It is better to reach out to your Ob/Gyn or certified nurse-midwife to discuss your concerns. 

Also, in rare cases, fetal hiccups may indicate a problem with the pregnancy or fetus. After eight months of pregnancy, it is unlikely that a pregnant individual will feel the fetus hiccup in the womb every day.

Therefore, you should contact your doctor if you have concerns about your baby’s movements in the womb when you feel it is too much or less than usual. 

However, baby hiccups in the womb should not make you worried. Instead, take episodes of fetal hiccups for what they are, which are normal, non-harmful, and pretty cute! Simply, bursts of fetal movement.

Can I Stop Fetal Hiccups?

Baby hiccups in the womb are not painful, and each episode should not last longer than 15 minutes. It is a part of your baby’s growth and cannot be prevented.

However, some fetal movements may cause slight discomfort and make it difficult for pregnant people to relax or fall asleep.

Here are some tips for relieving the discomfort of fetal movements:

  • Lay down on the left side of your body
  • Use pillows to support the bump and relieve pressure from the spine
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water)
  • Exercise as often as recommended by your doctor.
  • Rest well. 


It is important to keep track of the movement of your baby in the womb.

This helps you to notice when it is too much or little. In many cases, baby hiccups in the womb are nothing to worry about. However, if you have any worries about fetal hiccups, it is best to consult a healthcare professional so they can help ensure that there is nothing wrong or recommend treatment if necessary.

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