Fetal hiccups can cause anxiety when the mother first notices them. However, hiccups in the uterus are completely normal and in fact scientists and researchers believe that it may actually help to strengthen the baby’s diaphragm. A fetal hiccup is generally very mild and often goes unnoticed in the second trimester but may be quite obvious in the third trimester. Hiccups are a fetal reflex and since it is dependant on the development of the baby’s central nervous system, they can get stronger with each passing week. It is believed that hiccups are not as uncomfortable for unborn babies as they are for adults. Fetal hiccups should be brought to the notice of the doctor, as it is important to ensure the health of the baby and the mother at all times.
In some cases, fetal hiccups are linked to umbilical cord compression. This is a rather serious problem and can cause fetal distress. Pregnant women are therefore advised to track fetal hiccups and if they last for over 10 minutes, it would be best to consult a doctor right away. The doctor would generally recommend an immediate ultrasound to determine if the baby’s umbilical cord is entangled or if there are any signs of compression.
Fetal hiccups are very easy to distinguish as they cause a very distinct jerk. Unlike a baby’s kick which can be felt as a specific thump on a specific area of the woman’s belly, a fetal hiccup causes the movement of the entire belly. In some cases, during the third trimester, the baby’s hiccups can be visible. Instead of getting unduly worried about hiccups, many doctors recommend that the mother treat them in the same way as a feta kick. This will allow the mother to monitor them in the same way as she would monitor her baby’s kicks so that she can keep a track of them in case they continue for a prolonged period. This method is very useful as it prevents unnecessary anxiety. There may be times when it may not be easy to be sure if a movement was a hiccup or just the baby moving about. This is because a placenta that is anterior may act as a barrier. It is important to stay calm and you can always try singing you your child as this will help to calm you down as well as strengthen your bond with your child.