When Does a Baby Have a Heartbeat


heart-babyBeing a new expectant mother is as equally exciting as it is worrisome. For the most part in the first few months of pregnancy, the mother should focus on getting prenatal care, resting, and sharing the news with family.

During pregnancy, the doctor will use a doppler to monitor & detect the heartbeat of the unborn child/fetus. However, when is it that you will be able to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time, when does a baby have heartbeat?

When does a Baby Have a Heartbeat?

As soon as a child is conceived and the fetus implants into the mother’s womb/uterus the heart will begin forming. The human gestation period is calculated from the first day of the woman’s last normal period. The fifth week is crucial for the development of the fetus’s heart as the heart is forming its chambers and should be beating rapidly at a pace about (140-160) heartbeats a minute. The heartbeat should start appearing and be absolutely detectable by a obstetricians doppler around 6 weeks after the mother’s last period as well.

So, When does a baby have a heartbeat? The heart will start beating at around 6 weeks of gestation.

How Can I Hear My Baby’s Heartbeat?

With modern technology there is abilities for you to hear your baby’s first heartbeat and everyone after by a number of devices that magnify the sound of the heart inside the uterus. Monitoring and hearing the baby’s heart is securing and also heart-warming.

Fetal Doppler:

The fetal doppler is used by obstetricians to hear the baby’s heart beat directly from outside of the mother’s abdomen. It works by picking up sound waves and movements. Although, you will be able to hear the heartbeat clearly with this apparatus, you will not be able to see the fetus in your belly as only ultrasound also captures pictures of the unborn fetus..

Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound:

A trans-vaginal ultrasound works by inserting a wand hooked to an ultrasound machine. The wand is then inserted into the woman’s vagina. This makes it capable of detecting heartbeats and images of a very small fetus (as the pregnancy progresses an abdominal ultrasound will be able to detect the heartbeat and pictures of the fetus.)

It works on the same premise as the fetal doppler by use of sound waves. This type of ultrasound can identify more things than just the baby’s heartbeat, it can predict the due date, weeks of gestation, and also monitor the baby for any other health issues.

Problems Detecting the Heartbeat

A mother’s worst nightmare is not hearing her child’s heartbeat when first setting up prenatal care with an obstetrician. The apparent heartbeat of a baby is a good indicative sign that the pregnancy is progressing normally and that the fetus is developing adequately.

However, there are cases where a heartbeat cannot be detected. This could indicate problems with the unborn child, miscarriage, impending miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and more. If the heartbeat is not heard, the doctor will order other tests such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and more to determine what is causing the lack of heartbeat.

What Will Hearing the Heartbeat Be Like?

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is so exciting! However, new mothers who have never experienced it yet in their lives often wonder: what will hearing the heartbeat be like?

Every experience of this phenomena of being a new expectant mother is unique. However, there are a few things that you can expect out of it to better help you prepare and cherish the moment.

The Beats Per Minute

The fetus heartbeat can be detected by doppler and ultrasound at about 6 weeks of pregnancy. Depending on the baby and individual circumstances- the heart rate should beat at around 130-170 beats per minute (on average.) The heartbeat of a fetus and baby is faster as they are smaller and also the heartbeat will change pace as the fetus moves more or settles down more.

The Sound

The sound of the heartbeat transferred through the fetal doppler device will sound like a thump, thump, thump, just as you experience with your own heartbeat and have heard before. When the baby kicks or moves (in later stages of pregnancy) the doppler will make a scraping sound- that is only because it detects sound waves and the baby moving and kicking is getting picked up. This is also a good sign!

Conclusion: When Does a Baby Have a Heartbeat

The heartbeat of an unborn child is important for monitoring and tracking the health of the pregnancy and baby. Hearing it for the first time is also a milestone in motherhood. The heartbeat serves as a reminder that there is a life inside of you, and also that this life is thriving well. All throughout your pregnancy a obstetrician will check the baby’s heart-rate and also keep track of the heartbeat to ensure that you and your child are as healthy and the outcome of the pregnancy goes as well as expected.