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Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb?

You’re at the very first ultrasound for your little one, who’s adorable to you already! The love you have for your baby is immense, while there’s plenty of things you still aren’t quite sure about.

Questions are running through your mind at a million miles an hour, like what that part of the ultrasound is your baby’s face, or leg, or butt.

If you’ve been here before, we completely understand where you’re coming from. Don’t worry. No mommy or daddy will know everything their baby is capable of doing while still in your womb.

One thing you can tell from ultrasounds is that they sure jump, twitch, and kick a lot! But the harder thing to tell is if they can do things like breathe or sneeze.

Are babies capable of sneezing while in their mother’s womb?

Sneezing isn’t something that babies do while in their mother’s tummy. Or, at least they don’t know for sure if they can or can’t…yet.

There isn’t any evidence pointing towards a fetus being capable of sneezing while wading around in their safe haven of amniotic fluid.

Which makes you wonder…don’t people sneeze for reasons that take place in the outside world? Yes, sneezing happens for various reasons like the nostrils becoming irritated or tickled with pollen.

Or, when a person is sick their bodies are trying to clear the nose of any unwelcomed particles. Even if they can’t physically sneeze they do move a lot and can make plenty of movement for mom to feel

Your baby might not be able to sneeze like a child in the outside world, but they’re capable of so many things you’d be surprised if we could write them all down!

baby sneezing

Here are a few of the most common movements you’ll feel from your baby during pregnancy.

Babies have hiccups all the time in amniotic fluid

At some point in your second or third trimester of pregnancy, you’re going to feel some jerking sensations coming from your baby. These are your baby’s first hiccups!

Hic Hiccup Hooray! Your baby is now swallowing amniotic fluid which is a major milestone during the 9 months of pregnancy.

For many women, fetal hiccups will feel slightly more prominent than a heartbeat, located in the area of their womb where the baby’s chest and back lay.

Hiccups will cause your baby to kick too. If you find that your infant is creating more of a ruckus than usual then this might be your baby’s first episode of their hiccups.

As you near labor, hiccups will most likely subside since your baby is getting ready for life outside of the womb.

Keep in mind that some pregnant women don’t feel their babies hiccups at all, and they’ll hear them for the first time once they’ve delivered their child.

Don’t stress if you aren’t feeling any hiccups during your pregnancy. It’s perfectly normal to live out your entire pregnancy without feeling your baby’s hiccups.

It doesn’t mean they aren’t having them. Maybe the way your baby is positioned doesn’t make it obvious for you to feel on the outside.

They open their eyes while still in the womb

Think back to the last time you were submerged in a body of water and opened your eyes without any goggles on. This is similar to how it feels for your unborn baby when they open their eyes.

In your belly, it’s safe, dark, and they’ve no problem opening their eyes from the inside. They can keep them open as long as they’d like to, the amniotic fluid keeps things moisturized. That would be such a convenience to not have to blink!

From week 26 onward, they’ll begin to sense light from that shines on the outside of their mother’s belly. This can cause them to react by opening or closing their eyes.

When awake, babies will open and close their eyes to get a bit of practice in for the first time they look into mom and dad’s eyes for the first time or so we like to think!

What does a baby experience when their pregnant mother sneezes

For pregnant mothers, sneezing can be pretty uncomfortable especially if you have a harsh cough. Depending on what trimester you’re in, sneezing can be extremely uncomfortable.

With your growing belly and a baby sometimes kicking the underside of your ribs, it can be painful. Even with all of this discomfort, pregnant ladies can rest assured that their sneezing won’t be any harm to their unborn baby.

pregnant sneezing

All a sneeze brings with it is a temporary increase in abdominal pressure.

Any amount of pressure put off by a sneeze is harmless for your growing fetus, who’s wrapped in those ultra-comfortable womb muscles and amniotic fluid providing extra strength cushioning.

Why do pregnant women sneeze more?

A pregnancy-induced condition called Rhinitis causes uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, and excess sneezing.

This condition can happen at any stage during your pregnancy. Doctors believe it’s caused by hormonal changes, but they can’t say for sure.

If you’re lucky, you will avoid it altogether. Yet, many ladies do experience this during their pregnancy and are relieved when it resolves within two weeks of delivering their baby.

If you find sneezing uncomfortable, here are practical ways to manage it. Sneezing and a pregnant belly is a bad mix for mom, even though it’s harmless for infants on the inside.

If you already feel like you can’t stop sneezing and it’s driving you nuts, here are a few ways to better manage your sneezing episodes.

Know what triggers your sneezing

If you already are aware that pet dandruff or cat hair makes you sneeze more, stay away from it. Other common triggers include seasonal allergies, dust, and dirty clothing. Keep your showers regular and clothing clean.

Get into the best position to sneeze

Sneezing can be painful with your baby growing rapidly in the womb. Your infant will already be knocking at your rib cage from time-to-time.

If you know you’re about to sneeze, hold your belly if there’s no way to lay down on your side until the episode passes.

Keep your asthma under control

If you have asthma already, right when you become pregnant talk with your primary care doctor about how you can better manage it for the duration of your pregnancy.

Eat foods that are full of Vitamin-C

Oranges, tomatoes, and winter squash are all filled with Vitamin-C. Aim to eat plenty of these foods when possible to help relieve excess sneezing. Not only will it support your body in sneezing less, but it’ll also keep coughs at bay.

How Much of Their Mom’s Physical and Emotional Stress Can Babies Feel?

Stress overall has an impact on unborn babies, some stress is even good for infants. Along the stress-spectrum, too little stress can cause babies to be more accepting of stress in the future.

pregnant woman laying in bed

But, too much stress can cause babies to become overwhelmed and upheaval unnecessarily. They might even develop diseases eventually in life due to the high amounts of stress during this significant time of development.

Keeping womb-life balanced in terms of stress isn’t generally looked to like that big of a deal, even stressed babies come out healthy. Life has to go on regardless of what’s happening externally.

As mothers, when life for our baby is peaceful in the womb, we feel content too. If a baby in a peaceful environment were to be scanned on ultrasound, you’d see a happy smiling baby.

Stress-free babies in their mother’s womb are in there happily dancing around we like to think. This is the ideal environment for a fetus, the majority of the time.

Life can’t always be sunshine and rainbows though. That’s why stress is also beneficial for infants in the womb.

Emotional stress from mother to baby

Babies feel a significant amount of emotional stress that their mothers go through, and they also cry about it too. Out of a healthy connection with their own emotional well-being, they’re fully equipped with an amazing sense of awareness.

When something is affecting their mother’s emotions negatively, fetuses will react by making a cringed face while crying tears. High amounts of emotional stress aren’t good for an unborn baby, while some are necessary.

During pregnancy mother and baby are undergoing intense emotional shifts together.

Physical stress from mother to baby

Some scientists and researchers will argue that infants can’t feel pain at such a young age. But, if this were the case, Utah would not have recently passed a law stating that abortions given after 20 weeks of gestation require the fetus to receive pain anesthesia.

Though not all states require a fetus to be sedated before abortion from 20 weeks onward, there’s more evidence backing that babies can indeed feel pain in the womb. Neonatal nurses will stand for their preemies.

A Neonatal Nurse says “Ask the nurses”

A NICU nurse named Robin Pierruci writes regarding this subject on the website in regards to how nurses see preemies become angry, sad, and physically hurt while in the NICU.

pregnant woman consulting a doctor

The fact that babies this young are reacting to procedures that are painful to them while delivered prematurely outside of the womb, it’s surely happening on the inside as well. All the nurses agree.

They see it daily even though babies don’t sneeze in the womb technically sneezing in childhood starts in the womb.

According to the University of Southhampton, it’s been found that babies who develop quickly in the early stages of pregnancy but hinder the last trimester are proof that the groundwork for sneezing is developed in the womb.

Even though babies don’t physically sneeze in the uterus, babies who grow slowly end up having narrow lung airways. Slow growth results in narrow lungs that become more likely to develop coughing, wheezing, and asthma in childhood.

The ever-growing high number of cases for childhood asthma goes to show that babies in the womb need to be studied far more than they already are if we’re going to combat childhood asthma and allergies as a whole.

In Conclusion

Countless developmental milestones happen during pregnancy. From babies first kicks to their first smiles, yet, sneezing isn’t one of them.

If you’re pregnant, aim to take even better care of your own body. That way the foundation of sneezing will develop nicely. When your baby comes to the outside world, they need to have the strongest immune systems possible.

You can do this by eating a well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and staying stress-free. Your baby deserves the best start to life possible, so keep doing your best at being the best you possible!


Sneezing Starts In The Womb? – Futurity

Everything You Should Know About Sneezing During Pregnancy – Healthline

Can sneezing hurt my baby? – Baby Center

Bonding with your baby during pregnancy – Pregnancy Birth & Baby

Evoked fetal startle response: a possible intrauterine neurological examination –

20 Thing Babies Could Be Doing In The Womb – Babygaga

Can a Pregnant Woman’s Experience Influence Her Baby’s Temperament? – Developmental Science

Do Fetuses Feel Pain? What the Science Says – Live Science