when can a fetus heartbeat be heard

when can a fetus heartbeat be heard

when can a fetus heartbeat be heard

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When does a fetus have a heartbeat?

Before about week 8 of pregnancy, a doctor may refer to the fetus as an embryo.

The heart of an embryo starts to beat from around 5–6 weeks of pregnancy. Also, it may be possible to see the first visible sign of the embryo, known as the fetal pole, at this stage.

The heart of a fetus is fully developed by the 10th week of pregnancy. Learn more about the development of the heart from weeks 5–10 below:

Week of pregnancy Level of heart development
5th week The developing heart is made up of two tubes that have fused in the middle, creating a trunk with four tubes branching off.

The heart begins to beat, and it may be possible to detect it using vaginal ultrasound.

6th week The heart of the embryo has changed dramatically — the basic heart tube has looped, forming an S-shape and creating an area for the ventricles.
7th week The ventricles and atria of the heart begin to separate and develop.
8th week The valves between the atria and ventricles of the heart form.
9th and 10th weeks The aorta and pulmonary vein form. By the 10th week, the fetal heart will have developed fully.

It may be possible to hear the heartbeat of an embryo from the fifth week of pregnancy. However, a scan at this stage is unlikely to show anything related to the embryo’s heartbeat.

During an ultrasound between weeks 18 and 22 of pregnancy, a healthcare provider will check the fetal anatomy, including the heart.

The heart rate of a fetus changes as it develops. In general, the rate is 110–160 beats per minute.

when can a fetus heartbeat be heard
when can a fetus heartbeat be heard

How a heartbeat is detected

A woman may have a scan to detect the fetal heartbeat at different stages of pregnancy. A doctor may recommend a scan as early as 7 weeks if the woman has had spotting, bleeding, or problems with a previous pregnancy.

A healthcare provider may perform an ultrasound in the first trimester to:

  • confirm the pregnancy and check the age of the fetus
  • check for a suspected ectopic pregnancy
  • evaluate bleeding or pain
  • check for the number of fetuses
  • check the heartbeat of the fetus
  • look for any fetal or uterine abnormalities
  • check for suspected abnormal cells or masses
  • look for and remove an intrauterine device, or IUD

A doctor can detect the heartbeat of a fetus in numerous ways, including:

Transvaginal scan
Transvaginal scan

Transvaginal scan

In the early stages of pregnancy, usually before 11 weeks, a transvaginal ultrasound can help check the embryo’s heartbeat.

A transvaginal scan is internal. The doctor inserts a device into the vagina to monitor the development of the embryo. However, until roughly the 7th week of pregnancy, the heartbeat of the embryo can be difficult to detect.

A transvaginal scan can also be useful after 11 weeks if an abdominal scan does not provide a clear picture of the fetus.


Transabdominal scan

During the second and third trimesters, a transabdominal scan can help assess the pregnancy.

To perform it, the healthcare provider spreads lubricating gel onto the woman’s lower abdomen. They then move a handheld ultrasound scanner device across the abdomen to find the uterus and fetus.

By the second trimester, the heart of the fetus is fully formed, and the doctor should see the heart beating on the scan.

fetus heartbeat
fetus heartbeat

A doctor uses transabdominal scans in the second or third trimesters to:

  • determine the age and growth of the fetus
  • check for multiple fetuses
  • check the condition of the fetus
  • evaluate the cervix
  • evaluate the uterus
  • check on any previously detected issues
  • examine the amniotic fluid and placenta
  • evaluate any bleeding or pain
  • check on any suspicious masses
  • check for any abnormal biochemical markers
  • check on or for fetal anomalies
  • look for signs of premature labor
  • confirm a suspected ectopic pregnancy
  • assess pregnancy loss

When does a baby have a heartbeat?

At 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy, there’s a flickering of cells within the embryo’s torso. This flickering is the developing heart tube.

At this point, the heart isn’t the four-chambered organ we’re familiar with. It’s a tube-shaped structure that has a lot of developing to do. The heart tube bends and twists to eventually form the heart, including its chambers.

Because the heart isn’t yet developed, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) defines this movement as “cardiac activity” rather than a heartbeat.

“What pregnant people may hear or see is the ultrasound machine translating electronic impulses that signify fetal cardiac activity into the sound that we recognize as a heartbeat,” ACOG states. The group recommends waiting until the heart is fully formed before using the term “heartbeat.”

fetus heartbeat
Pregnant Woman And Partner Having 4D Ultrasound Scan

A baby’s heart is one of the first structures to form, because it’s needed to deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to other developing organs.

Some of the important steps in heart development are:

  • The heart tube twists and bends into an S shape, and the bottom of the tube moves up to form the two upper heart chambers (atria).
  • The middle of the tube forms the two lower chambers (ventricles).
  • Walls form to divide the chambers, each with an entrance and exit for blood flow.
  • Valves form between the ventricles and the aorta (large blood vessel) and pulmonary artery.
  • At about 10 weeks to 12 weeks, the heart is formed.
  • Small blood vessels form and fill with blood.
  • At birth, the opening between the two atria closes. Your baby is now getting oxygen from their lungs and not from the placenta.

When can you hear a baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope?

By around week 20 of pregnancy, you can often hear your baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope — about eight to 10 weeks after it’s detectable by Doppler.

How your baby’s heart and circulatory system develop

Fetal heart development starts early on in pregnancy and your baby’s ticker continues to change even after birth as he adjusts from the womb to the world.

more :  pregnancy week calculator by due date

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