Do Babies Sneeze In The Womb?

We all know that feeling when you have to sneeze, and it’s normal to think it’s just a simple reflex we’ve always done. But, have you ever stopped and asked yourself if babies can sneeze while in the womb?

The idea might seem odd or funny, but it’s a super interesting topic that makes even scientists and OB/GYNs ask a lot of questions.

Are there things babies can do inside the womb? Let’s take explore this topic thoroughly.

Does my baby in the womb sneeze?

There are discrepancies regarding whether babies can sneeze in the womb or not. But here’s the fact;

Babies do not, or cannot in anyway sneeze in the womb. Typically, sneezing occurs when your nostrils are irritated by particles in the outside world.  Such particles could be pollen, dust or smoke.

Since babies in the womb are surrounded by amniotic fluid and their respiratory systems have no exposure to these external particles, they is barely no likelihood of them needing to sneeze. This is one reason.

Let’s look at the second. Babies respiratory system is not yet fully developed and they basically rely on you, the mother, to supply oxygen through the placenta. They do not use their lungs to breath the way they will, after being born.

As the primary purpose of sneezing is to clear the nasal passages, the underdeveloped respiratory system minimizes the need for sneezing in the womb. So, your baby simply can’t sneeze while in there. Let’s explore the third reason;

There’s limited air in your womb. Your baby’s respiratory system is still developing and they do not have the capacity to inhale or exhale significant amounts of air.

Instead, what babies do is practice “breathing” by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid through their nostrils and mouth. 

While some sources may suggest that babies inhaling amniotic fluids can trigger sneezing, it is not the truth, triggers may only result to baby hiccupping and not a sneeze. Besides, there isn’t any air in there to cause a sneeze.

These reasons are generally why your baby in the womb cannot sneeze. Note that, this information is only with babies in the womb, and not newborn babies.

But what happens to baby in womb when mom sneezes?

It is natural to wonder what effects it has on your baby when you sneeze. You may marvel and ask such questions especially for the fact that sneezing produces a certain amount of force. But this is what happens when you sneeze..

Your baby perceives your movements after sneezing, and may respond with their own movements too. There’s nothing to think about when you sneeze, regardless of the magnitude, because it won’t pose any risk to your baby, and not even to you.

Though you may feel some pains around the belly due to muscular contractions during sneezing, you’re still safe and very fine.

It is normal for expecting mothers to worry about any actions that could potentially harm their baby. However, the womb and the amniotic fluid serves as a buffer to outside forces, and they protect babies, including the force resulting from a mother’s sneezing.

Can babies hiccup in the womb?

Babies can hiccup in the womb because they are practicing breathing. During these practice breaths, the muscle in their diaphragm may sometimes twitch and cause them to hiccup.

Excess amniotic fluids may also cause them to hiccup sometimes when practicing breathing.

Pregnant women are likely to notice rhythmic twitching or shaking sensation in their abdomen, which is often identified as baby’s movements including fetal hiccups. They’re a normal part of your little one’s development and probably not a cause for concern.

Why does it feel like my baby is vibrating in the womb?

Feeling a vibration-like sensation in your womb can be attributed to some factors like;

  • Baby movements – Your baby makes random movements such as kicking, punching, turning. You even experience this rampantly during your third trimester because that is when he’s grown enough, making the uterus crowded.
  • Baby hiccupping – It’s going to hiccup involuntarily because it is practising breathing, and it can feel your body vibrating as a result.
  • Stretches- sometimes, it’ll stretch to allow its bones, joints and muscles to develop better. It’s a normal part of its development, and may cause your body to shake sometimes.
  • Baby practicing breathing – As part of its growth, it’ll start practising breathing during the third trimester and this may cause you to experience a shaking sensation. Why you will feel this twitch is that his diaphragm moves up and down rhythmically in this process and will cause amniotic fluids to move too.
  • Nervous system development: while your baby’s nervous system develops, it discovers new skills. And he’s going to keep doing them to get control over his body and manage its movements. This will cause your stomach to vibrate sometimes.

You can read on my article on “why does it feel like baby is shaking in womb” to read more on baby twitches during pregnancy.


Do babies cough in the womb?

No, babies do not cough in the womb. Its respiratory system does not really function while in there. Instead, they receive oxygen and nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord, so there is literally no need for them to cough, sneeze or even breathe in the traditional sense until they are born and exposed to air.

What are some weird things babies do in the womb?

Reacting to sounds and light, trying to practice breathing, kicking, punching and rolling, sucking thumbs, swallowing and digesting.

How do I know if baby is crying in the womb?

It’s actually not possible to hear your baby cry in the womb. This is basically because their vocal cords aren’t developed till they are born. however, it is going to express discomfort or distress through movements and changes in the heart rate. If you feel unusual or prolonged patterns of movement, then you should talk with your doctor and possibly go for a check-up to ensure baby’s health and growth.


Your baby simply do not sneeze while in the womb, unless after birth. However, with hiccups it can make them because it keeps practicing breathing.

While it can cause some vibrations and shaking sensations sometimes, they do not harm you nor the baby.

Not only does hiccups cause these sensations, some other factors like baby’s movements, stretches, nervous system development and baby practicing breathing can lead to it.

If your baby does not make any movements lately, then you should talk to your doctor because it could probably be a problem.


Medical News Today (Can sneezing during pregnancy affect the baby?)

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.