By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD – Reviewed by a board-certified physician.
What is a regular fetal heart rate? This is a concern that you probably have from the very first time you hear your baby’s heart beat. What you hear might truly shock you. “I wish someone had actually prepared me for how quick it sounded.
My first idea was that could not be the baby,” remembers Eve. The fact is that a normal fetal heart rate changes during the stages of pregnancy.
How Your Baby’s Heart Rate Changes
At about 5 weeks pregnancy, your baby’s heart begins to beat.
At this point, a normal fetal heart rate is about the same heart rate as the mother’s: about 80-85 beats per minute (BPM). From this point, it will increase its rate about 3 beats per minute daily during that first month.
This is so specific, that your doctor or midwife can really use heart rate to assist determine the gestational age of your baby by means of ultrasound. The miscarriage rate for pregnancies where a mother has actually heard or seen a heart beat is lower; however, if your doctor notices that your baby’s heart beat is off by a week or more it can indicate that a miscarriage is most likely.
” The very first time we heard the heartbeat, I believed something was incorrect like my baby was having a cardiovascular disease or something. It was so quick,” describes one mom. “My doctor described that it was totally regular for it to seem like galloping horses which it wasn’t harming my baby in any way.”
By the start of the 9th week of pregnancy, the typical fetal heart rate is approximately 175 BPM.
At this moment, it begins a quick deceleration to the typical fetal heart rate for the middle of the pregnancy to about 120-180 BPM. There is also a slowing down of the regular fetal heart rate in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, though the regular fetal heart rate is still about two times the typical grownup’s resting heart rate.
Natural Heart Rate Fluctuations
Your baby’s normal fetal heart rate will likewise differ naturally, just as your heart rate does. Motion, sleeping, and other activities can cause a regular variation. Make certain to speak with your midwife or doctor about concerns that you have with your baby’s heart rate.
” You might hear the baby’s heart rate going up and down on the display with contractions when I was having a non-stress test at the end of pregnancy,” discusses Eve. “It was quite interesting to see it in action. The nurse stated it was a lot like working out for you or me. The heart rate goes up and down within a specific structure of normal.”
Monitoring Your Baby’s Heart Rate at Home
Some mamas feel much better when they can keep an eye on the baby’s heart beat from home. This use of a doppler in the home is not recommended for a lot of moms. The issues are multi-pronged and include overuse of the doppler listening device and/or misinterpretation, favorably or adversely.
There are other methods to listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
You must talk to your doctor or midwife about how to best monitor your baby if you are concerned.