By Dr. Mallika Marshall

(CBS) – How cute is a baby’s hiccup? Turns out those hiccups may actually help a baby’s brain development.

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm contracts and the vocal cords rapidly close, making the characteristic noise.

Baby hiccups begin in the womb and continue after birth. Most babies can sleep right through them.

In a new study, researchers at University College London looked at 13 pre-term and full-term babies and found that hiccups trigger a large wave of brain signals. They believe this cascade may help babies learn how to regulate their breathing and voluntarily control breathing muscles, like the diaphragm, over time.

The researchers said it’s possible that occasional hiccupping in adults may simply be leftover behavior from infancy.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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