Just like fetal movement, fetal hiccups are observed during the second or the third trimester of pregnancy. However, in some cases, they may appear as early as the first trimester. Fetal hiccups are different compared to fetal movements and are characterized by sensation of spasms in the stomach. While the frequency of fetal hiccups may vary, they are observed at least once during a pregnancy. Experts suggest that while they can be strange, in most cases, the hiccups are not even noticeable.
What Causes Fetal Hiccups?
Experts suggest that hiccups in a fetus are movements that are expected to gear the baby for breathing outside the mother’s uterus. Other experts suggest that hiccups are associated with development of the baby’s motor skills especially swallowing and sucking. Overall, fetal hiccups are linked to the development of the nervous system.
While there is little knowledge on the subject, experts presume that hiccups on an average last for about eight minutes. The number of hiccups per minute can range from one to six. Fetal hiccups may feel like mild spasms in the belly. These spasms are usually rhythmic movements and can be felt throughout the belly.
Are Fetal Hiccups Dangerous?
Fetal hiccups are necessary and normal part of the growth process. They are indicative of the development of the central nervous system. Usually, fetal hiccups start in the first trimester, though in most cases, they are not felt by the mother till late second trimester.
While in most cases, fetal hiccups are not very distressing. However, if the expecting mother experiences hiccups very frequently or for prolonged duration it is essential to consult the physician. While there is little that can be done, it is important for the physician to monitor your condition, during this phase. It also helps the physician rule out signs of fetal distress.
How To Stop Fetal Hiccups?
There is not much that can be done to stop fetal hiccups. In most cases, hiccups are linked with development of the central nervous system. However in some cases, they may be linked with cord compression, resulting from inadequate supply of air to the fetus. Your obstetrician will monitor your condition, irrespective of the cause. Here are a few things that you can do to reduce distress,
- Understand the physiology and avoid stressing yourself out. Stress can have a detrimental effect on your metabolism and blood flow, which in turn can increase the frequency of the hiccups.
- Deep breathing exercises can help you relax along with improving the uptake of oxygen by the lungs. This in turn improves your blood oxygen saturation. Good blood oxygen saturation will only improve the growth of the fetus.
- Meditation is also helpful; especially since it helps you connect with your growing fetus. Enchanting while meditation can help you relax better and also improve your metabolism, which in turn will benefit your fetus.
- Ensure that you drink enough water and have a well balanced diet. A healthy diet and adequate amount of fluid intake maintains an optimum amniotic fluid. This in turn is essential to allow the fetus to grow.
Whenever in doubt consult your obstetrician. It is important for you to be aware of what changes are taking place in your body and ensure that your fetus is healthy.