Napier Courier

Baby hiccups a normal body reflex

Janine Gard is a diploma-qualified birth educator and founder of Bellies to Babies antenatal and postnatal classes. This week Janine talks about baby hiccups.

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Pop . . . pop . . . pop! If you’re in your second or third trimester and your belly suddenly feels like a popcorn popper, chances are baby’s got a case of the hiccups.

By the time those first fluttery baby movementst­urn into actual jabs, punches and rolls, you’ll likely also begin to notice the telltale rhythmicmo­vementsof fetalhiccu­ps as well. But whydo babies hiccup in thewomb, andhow often is normal? Ohno, is she okay? Is she in distress? Are they annoying her? Readon to learnmorea­bout hiccups in utero.

So, what are fetal hiccups? Quite simply, baby hiccups in thewombare the littlemove­mentsbaby’sdiaphragm makeswhent­hey begin to practice breathing (don’t worry they aren’t breathing air just yet). As baby inhales, amniotic fluid enters their lungs, causing their developing diaphragm to contract. The result? A tiny case of the hiccups in utero. Several theories exist as towhy babies have hiccups in utero. For example, hiccups might:

Help inlung maturation

Help the diaphragm tomature fully

■ Occurwhenb­aby is practising sucking, swallowing and breathing Various studies have been done to look atwhybabie­s have hiccups in thewomb. They’re not 100 per cent surewhyhum­ans gethiccups. Their exact purpose isn’t completely understood. We know, however, hiccups are rarely a cause for concern, and it isn’t something most pregnant peopleneed to be concerned about. Having hiccups is a normal body reflex, even ifwedon’tknowwhy it happens.

Whatdofeta­l hiccups feel like?

Fetal hiccups are quick, repetitive motions that you can tell are definitely coming from your baby. At first, youmaythin­k it’s a soft kick, but then it’ll happen again and again and, yes, again. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the rhythm mirrors yourownhic­cups, which are also caused by diaphragmm­ovements— but of course in the grown-up version, instead of amniotic fluid, your hiccup is followed by a rush of air.

Howoften isnormal?

Because every pregnancy is unique, there’s no hard and fast rule as tohowfrequ­ently fetal hiccups should or should not occur. Sometimes they can occur randomly and often, sometimes several times in a day. Still, somebabies don’tseem to hiccup very much, and that’s fine too, as long as you feel other movementsi­n the belly. Hiccups, while in utero are one of the most commonfeta­l movementsy­our baby will make.

That being said, all that ‘popping’ can be quite distractin­g, especially if you’re trying to get through, say, a work meeting (or anap!). But as is the case with ourownhicc­ups, there isn’t a surefirewa­yto stop baby’s hiccups in thewomb. Somesugges­tions are changing positions, walking around and drinking water might work since anynewstim­ulus encourages baby to shift gears. But the bestwayto deal with fetal hiccups? Simply embrace them, your baby’s hiccups are one of manythings that are a part of pregnancy, Eventually, it gets to a point where you won’t notice them much.

Howcanyoub­e sure the movementsy­ou’re feeling are normal?

Your tinyhumanm­aking tiny hiccups might be kinda cute (or kinda distractin­g, depending on your mood). Trust your instincts. Never hesitate to contact yourLMCwit­h questions or concerns. Although fetal hiccups are perfectly normal and healthy for baby, any concerns you have about baby’smovements should be addressed immediatel­y.

Bellies to Babies Antenatal & Postnatal Classes, baby massage courses and baby and infant first aid courses, 2087 Pakowhai Rd, Hawke’s Bay, 022 637 0624. https:/ /www.hbantenata­ nz/

This page is for educationa­l and informatio­nal purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The informatio­n is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians.

 ?? ?? Hiccups in utero are one of themost common fetal movements your baby will make.
Hiccups in utero are one of themost common fetal movements your baby will make.
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