Are baby’s hiccups good for the brain?

Watching a newborn hiccup might make parents anxious but scientists say its could be an important part of brain development.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 3:11 pm
Babies born more than three weeks before the due date are particularly prone to hiccups

Researchers have found that hiccups - caused by sudden, spontaneous contractions of the diaphragm muscle - trigger electrical activity in the brain which could help babies learn how to regulate their breathing.

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The study’s lead author Kimberley Whitehead from the University College London, said: “The reasons for why we hiccup are not entirely clear, but there may be a developmental reason, given that foetuses and newborn babies hiccup so frequently.”

Babies born more than three weeks before the due date are particularly prone to hiccups. Hiccuping can also be observed in the womb - as early as nine weeks into pregnancy.