Weird Pregnancy Symptoms

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Demystifying That Weird Popping Feeling & Sound During Pregnancy

If you're worried you're giving birth to Snap, Crackle, and Pop from the Rice Krispies commercials, fear not.

Pregnancy is… pretty weird sometimes. Whether it’s your ears making more wax or your joints getting loosey-goosey, it causes all kinds of odd bodily changes. Have you experienced that mysterious popping sound and feeling during pregnancy? Not all women do, but some say they hear a *pop* noise, or feel a snap of some kind inside their bump. So, what the heck is it, and should you worry if it happens to you?

If you’ve heard or felt this mysterious pop and tried your own Google search, you probably found lots of discussion forums on sites like Trimester Talk and Baby Center, with entries from women who had the same experience. But no one seems to know exactly what the cause is.

“Patients will rarely ask about it; it’s not necessarily something commonly asked about,” says Abigail Burns, M.D., OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in an interview with Romper. “There are a few theories about what it is, but all of them are benign, so we don’t worry about it when women notice it.” And those theories are dependent on what trimester of pregnancy you’re in.

Amniotic Fluid Can Make Popping Sounds

“If it’s happening early, it’s thought to be related to the amniotic fluid moving around, and somehow if it’s moving in a certain way, it then can cause this popping sound people notice,” says Burns. “When it happens later in pregnancy, it might be amniotic fluid moving, but it may also be the baby moving. Some people think the baby might be making clicking or popping noises with their mouth or their joints, because babies have hyperflexible joints. It’s possible that as they’re moving, you might hear an audible clicking or popping related to that.”

Your Joints Can Make A Popping Sensation

Rachel Urrutia, M.D., board-certified OB-GYN at UNC Health, tells Romper in an interview that your joints may be the source of the sound, too. “One thing that happens in later pregnancy, toward the end of the third trimester, is the body starts secreting this hormone relaxin, which helps the ligaments be more mobile in the body to help the baby pass through the birth canal at birth,” she says. “People’s joints are less stable during pregnancy than at any other time, so obviously if your joints aren’t stable, maybe that popping feeling of the joints or muscle spasms in the pelvis.”

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Why might some women experience this sensation while others have no idea what they’re talking about? Well, just like any other pregnancy symptom or change, not everyone’s body goes through the same things. “Every pregnancy and developing baby is very different, so some people may experience it in one pregnancy and not the next, but it’s all variations of benign things. There hasn’t been a ton of research on it because it’s something we’re not concerned about,” Burns explains.

When To See A Doctor About Your Popping Sensation

“It’s hard to say without a research study, but I would guess different levels of fitness, body types, the way they carry, previous injuries, previous pregnancies, all of those things could go into it,” Urrutia adds. “As long as you’re not feeling pain or problems with balance or falling, problems with their mobility, it’s not something to worry about.”

Urrutia says that If your clicks and pops continue after pregnancy, you may benefit from some additional help. “A lot of my patients at some point either before, or more commonly after delivery, benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. I don’t think the joint popping is scary or dangerous, but if you deliver and feel things still aren’t right in your body, definitely consider doing pelvic floor PT.”

Sources:

Rachel Urrutia, M.D., board-certified OB-GYN at UNC Health

Abigail Burns, M.D., OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital