We’ve all had hiccups – plenty at inopportune times e.g. getting a massage, in a church etc. – but why do we get them?

Well, according to science, there’s a very good reason you hiccup (yes, even those ones in silent movie theatres). Apparently, the act of hiccuping teaches babies to breathe properly.

The study from Clinical Neurophysiology has found that when newborn babies hiccup it develops mind-body connections which go on to assist with voluntarily control their breathing.

The study looked at 13 newborns and recorded that the infants hiccuped for as long as 15 minutes every day – we know, sounds like fresh hell – but for babies, it’s a little different. In fact, according to the study, they need to go through this process to learn how hold their breath, take deep breaths and other related breathing skills.

The study goes on to explain that each hiccup initiates three big brain waves that help the infants develop neurological connections between the brain and the body. This helps babies learn how their bodies work. The ‘hic’ sound also plays a role, helping teach babies that there is a correlation between the physical sensation and the sound.

Finally, it’s believed that adult hiccups (aside from a few exceptions) may be a physiological carry-over from our infant days.

So, basically, the whole thing is Mother Nature’s fault?

 

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Written by Ally Parker

Images: Getty