Hiccups during Pregnancy
Hiccups are quite mysterious in their ways. No one seems to know definitively why they come and go about our lives. Add them to the rapid pregnancy changes that come flowing our way – it is so hard not to wonder, why are hiccups so fond of pregnant women? Is there a connection? Is there a way to keep them away? Are they harmless or do they have a purpose? Let’s find out!
What is a hiccup?
Hiccups are, in simple terms, a spasm of your diaphragm. Your diaphragm might get mad for many reasons, like:
- You did not inhale enough oxygen
- There is too much stomach acid (acid reflux)
- A burp that is trying to escape
- A bolus of food that is stuck
- Swallowing too quickly
Most of the times, hiccups are brought upon because of gastrointestinal problems. For some people, hiccups are neurological – they will appear when you are stressed, excited or feeling nervous.
Hiccupping when pregnant
Now that we’ve looked at the factors that cause hiccups, it is easy to see how they are so related to pregnant women.
- We can often get short of breath
- Get morning sickness a lot
- Have indigestion, belching and acid reflux
- Crave unusual food combinations
- And get stressed and emotional a lot
These rapid pregnancy changes can cause your diaphragm to twitch a lot, making you hiccup constantly.
The random single hiccup – are they harmful?
The internet is full of accounts from women whose first pregnancy symptom was the hiccups. Many of them also report experiencing a random single hiccup throughout their pregnancy that vanished by itself after they gave birth. Constantly hiccupping and having random episodes of tugs from your insides can be quite annoying. Sometimes they can be loud and violent too. But the good news is, other than being a constant bother, they aren’t harmful at all. Hiccups have not been found to cause any harm to pregnant women or to the growing baby in the womb.
Ways to reduce hiccups during pregnancy
- The biggest cause of these hics is indigestion and nausea. When you aren’t digesting food well, have heart burn, are about to vomit or just vomited, it can trigger your hiccups. Planning your meals to suit you, not taking too much fiber or fat in a single serving can ease the troubles. Also, it can be tempting to dive right into a heavy meal the moment your hiccup has subsided – don’t do that or your hiccups will start right again. Pace yourself and don’t overeat or starve.
- If your hiccups are too much triggered by heartburn, you can try reducing fried food and carbonated beverages. Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee may also increase heartburn.
- Have your biggest meal in the middle of the day when your morning sickness is lower and your digestion is at peak capacity.
- Eating too full or staying hungry for too long are both culprits that worsen acid reflux. Break down your meals into small courses and binge on healthy snack so you don’t stay hungry for too long. Not lying down immediately after having a large meal can help too.
- Stay away from protein or fat rich food right before bed. Fruits are a better option.
- Spicy, vinegary, acidic and sour food can increase acid reflux, causing irritation of the diaphragm.
- If your surging pregnancy hormones have been taking you on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions, take the time to slow down, calm yourself and deeply relax to keep those pesky hiccups away. You can practice meditation and deep breaths to help you stay mindful and ease yourself on the spot.
Should you see your doctor?
If you’ve been wanting to see your doctor about your hiccups, don’t feel silly. If you’ve been hiccupping for a whole day or have long hiccupping patterns that are persistent, you should consult your doctor about it. Hiccups that last very long can sometimes be a symptom of other underlying problems unrelated to pregnancy.
Although it is very very rare, conditions like:
- A gut infection
- Diabetes or Addison’s disease
- Heart conditions
- Pneumonia or asthma
- Nerve problems
- Or medication side effects
Might be causing these persistent hiccups. It is always a good idea to talk to a health professional about any concerns, both big or small, when you are pregnant.
Is your baby hiccupping?
When you have a tiny little one growing in your tummy, it can feel like there’s popcorn popping inside all day. You will feel rolls, kicks and nudges in plenty. But have you ever noticed a sort of rhythmic twitching from inside your belly? It can feel like your innards are pulsing or spasming. These tugs can usually be noticeable in the second to third trimesters. They are fetal hiccups!
That’s right! Your little one in the womb can hiccup too. Some babies hiccup a lot and some don’t. Just like for adults, we don’t yet completely understand why these hiccups happen, but they are considered completely normal and a sign that your baby is growing healthy. If you are over week 32 and you can feel your baby hiccupping every day, for over 15 minutes, or if your baby has more than three episodes of hiccupping in a day, you must contact your doctor. Your physician will examine your baby for any umbilical cord compression and will help ease your worries.
Home Remedies to get rid of hiccups
The old wives’ cure for hiccups is to get someone scare you. Although that is a bit extreme, there are a few other home remedies others swear by. Here are a few:
- Drink a glass of water in a single breath
- Hold your breath
- Swallow a spoon of sugar
- Gargle water
Most of the hiccups you get during pregnancy are nothing to worry about. They simply mean that your body is changing a lot and that you are very excited and morning sick. Unless you are having very serious long-lasting episodes, chalk it up to being another of the little bothers that is here to annoy you till your little one is in your arms.
Do you have a special secret remedy to keep those pesky random single hiccups away? Share with us down below!