16 Jun 2022 | 4 min Read
Author | 500 Articles
A foetal heartbeat indicates the baby’s growth, development and health. Normally, the heartbeat of a baby begins to beat after the 6th week of pregnancy. If you are 7 weeks pregnant and can’t hear your baby’s heartbeat you might be concerned about it.
However, in some babies, the heartbeat forms later than 7 weeks and still the babies tend to be normal and healthy. Read to find out more about it.
A normal foetal heart rate in one minute ranges from 110 to 160 bpm (beats per minute) when it is first detected. After that, the heart rate of the baby can increase to 170 bpm around the 10th week. The heartbeat can fall to 130 bpm towards the end of the gestational period.
The myocardium in your baby starts contracting around the 3rd week. However, a sonogram picks it up only after 6 weeks.
According to Paediatrician Dr Pooja Marathe, “If you’re in your first trimester and you can’t hear your baby’s heartbeat, don’t worry. Dopplers can’t reliably detect a baby’s heartbeat until 10-12 weeks. Your doctor may try again on your next visit.
If you are past seven weeks pregnant, seeing no heartbeat may be a sign of miscarriage. But there are many exceptions to the “heartbeat by seven weeks” rule. You’ve likely heard of people who were certain they had miscarried or were not pregnant, and then went on to have a normal pregnancy.”
If you have an early ultrasound exam, you may be able to hear and see the fluttering of your baby’s cells for the first time when you’re around 6 weeks pregnant.
In other cases, your baby’s heartbeat with a foetal doppler which the doctor uses at a regular prenatal care visit. Your baby’s position in the uterus determines how early the sound can be picked up. It also depends on your weight and how accurate your due date is. Checking your baby’s heartbeat becomes a regular part of every prenatal visit.
Many women say that the heartbeat of the baby sounds like the thunder of galloping horses. Mums can get emotional when hearing it for the first time.
If there is no foetal heartbeat, it could indicate a miscarriage in the following instances:
When the heartbeat isn’t heard, the doctor may measure the crown to rump measurements using a foetal pole. This can then help determine if there is a risk of a miscarriage.
An embryo larger than 5 millimetres with no heartbeat may indicate a miscarriage. Additionally, a gestational sac larger than 8 millimetres without a yolk sac or a gestational sac that is larger than 16 millimetres without an embryo can indicate a miscarriage.
If the date of your conception is accurate and there is still no heartbeat at eight weeks, then it might indicate a miscarriage. However, there are cases when the babies didn’t have a heartbeat at eight weeks and still turned out to be healthy.
Remember that not every baby’s heartbeat can be felt at seven weeks of pregnancy. However, if you still don’t hear it after eight weeks, consult your gynaecologist to understand if there are any complications.