Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb? World of Fetal Development

Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb?

Babies are amazing and complex little beings, even before they are born. While much is known about the development of babies in the womb, there are still some questions that remain unanswered.

Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb
Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb

Pregnancy is a magical time when a woman’s body undergoes incredible changes to accommodate the growing fetus. It’s no wonder that expectant parents are curious about every aspect of fetal development, including whether babies sneeze in the womb.

Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb?

The short answer is yes, babies do sneeze in the womb. Sneezing is a reflex that helps clear the airways of mucus, dust, and other particles that can irritate. Although babies don’t breathe through their noses in the womb, they can still inhale amniotic fluid, which can trigger a sneeze.

Studies have shown that fetuses sneeze more frequently than newborns, with some estimates suggesting that they sneeze up to four times an hour. Sneezing is just one of the many ways that babies prepare themselves for life outside the womb.

Why Do Newborns Sneeze?

Newborns continue to sneeze after birth, and for the same reasons as fetuses. The environment outside the womb is full of new and potentially irritating substances, such as dust, pet dander, and pollen. Sneezing helps clear the nasal passages and keep the airways clear.

It’s worth noting that newborns also tend to sneeze when they’re exposed to bright light, which is known as the photic sneeze reflex. This reflex is believed to be caused by the brain’s confusion between the signals for light and the signals for nasal irritation.

What causes pregnant women to sneeze more?

Rhinitis is a condition that happens during pregnancy and causes uncomfortable symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, and a lot of sneezing.

This can happen at any time during your pregnancy. Doctors think it’s because of changes in hormones, but they can’t be sure.

Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb
Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb

If you are lucky, you will not have to deal with it at all. Still, this happens to a lot of women while they are pregnant, and they are relieved when it goes away within two weeks of giving birth.

Here are some easy ways to deal with sneezing if it bothers you. Even though it’s safe for the baby on the inside, sneezing is bad for Mum when she’s pregnant.

If you feel like you can’t stop sneezing and it’s driving you crazy, here are some ways to deal with it better.

Can Sneezing Hurt Your Baby?

Many pregnant women worry that sneezing or coughing could harm their baby, but in most cases, these concerns are unfounded. The uterus is designed to protect the fetus from external forces, and the amniotic fluid acts as a cushion. Sneezing or coughing is unlikely to cause any harm to your baby.

Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb
Do Babies Sneeze in the Womb

However, if you have a medical condition that affects your pregnancy, such as placenta previa or a weakened cervix, your doctor may advise you to take extra precautions to avoid strain and pressure on your abdomen. In these cases, it’s always best to follow your doctor’s advice.

Do Babies Cry in the Womb?

It’s a common belief that babies cry in the womb, but the truth is a little more complicated. Fetal vocalizations, also known as “pre-cry,” have been observed in ultrasound scans as early as 28 weeks of gestation. These sounds are believed to be a form of practice for breathing and vocalization.

However, it’s important to note that these sounds are not the same as crying. Crying requires the coordination of multiple muscles and the ability to breathe air, which doesn’t happen until after birth. So while babies may make sounds in the womb that resemble crying, they are not crying.

Can a Baby Sneeze in the Womb Hurt the Mother?

No, a baby sneezing in the womb cannot hurt the mother. The uterus is designed to protect the growing fetus from external forces, and a sneeze is not strong enough to cause any harm.

Can a fetus feel a sneeze or hear it?

Now that the doctors have put to rest any remaining worries, we can talk about the fun part. What does your baby see, hear, and feel inside the watery cocoon of your uterus? And will they be offended if you sneeze loud?

“At the end of the first trimester, the part of the fetal nervous system that will become the brain is just starting to develop, and so is the sensory nervous system,” says Sutton. “Sensory stimuli can reach the fetal brain around 24 to 25 weeks.” Inside the womb, fetuses are treated to a 24-hour internal symphony of blood circulating, your heart beating, and even the sounds of your hardworking digestive system. A fetus might also be able to hear sounds from the outside world, like the music you play in your car or the talk on TV.

Still, Sutton says that it’s not clear what a developing baby in the womb does and doesn’t hear, even though their brain might be able to pick up on sounds. We can’t just ask them. “The nervous system of the fetus keeps growing until the end of the third trimester,” says Sutton. “And just because the nerves are connected doesn’t mean we know how the fetus feels those things. So, it’s hard to say for sure when the baby can hear and feel sounds and movements inside and outside the body, but it could be during the second trimester.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or the health of your baby, you should ask your healthcare provider. No question is a stupid question. And if you want to know what happens to your baby when you sneeze, you could ask your doctor if you can blow a big fake achoo during your next ultrasound. For science, you know.


In conclusion, babies do sneeze in the womb, and it’s a natural and important part of fetal development. Newborns also sneeze frequently, and this helps keep their airways clear. 

There is some evidence to suggest that babies may sneeze in the womb, but the frequency and reasons for this are not well understood. While sneezing is a reflex that helps to clear the airways of irritants, it is unclear whether babies in utero experience similar irritants or if their sneezing serves a different purpose. Some studies have also suggested that fetal sneezing may be related to the development of the respiratory system. However, more research is needed to fully understand the phenomenon of fetal sneezing and its potential implications for fetal development.

 Overall, the current scientific understanding suggests that fetal sneezing is a natural part of fetal development but further research is needed to understand its exact purpose and significance.


Is it normal for babies to sneeze frequently in the womb? 

Yes, it is normal for babies to sneeze frequently in the womb, as they are constantly inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid and other substances.

Can I feel my baby sneeze in the womb? 

It is unlikely that you will feel your baby sneeze in the womb, as their movements are still quite small and may go unnoticed.

Is sneezing in the womb a sign of a problem? 

No, sneezing in the womb is a normal and healthy reflex for babies.

What happens if a baby inhales amniotic fluid during a sneeze in the womb?

A: Inhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid during a sneeze is normal and usually not harmful. However, inhaling a large amount of fluid can lead to complications and should be addressed by a medical professional.

Can babies continue to sneeze after they are born? 

Yes, babies can continue to sneeze after they are born, as their airways continue to clear out any remaining amniotic fluid or mucus.

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