When Can You Hear a Baby Heartbeat?

A Mommybites reader asked:

When can I hear my baby’s heartbeat?

baby's heartbeat
Photo By SeventyFour/shutterstock

From the moment we find out we are expecting, no sound is more moving, more touching than hearing our little one’s heartbeat for the very first time!

For many expectant moms, it is an anxious time between conceiving and the first heartbeat – it’s completely normal to feel a bit uneasy until you hear that comforting sound for the first time. Many moms-to-be say it is when they finally “realize” they are pregnant – that a little being is growing inside of them – so it is quite understandable to want to hear the heartbeat immediately. If only a pregnancy stick could also pick up eeny teeny heartbeats!

Around the fifth week of pregnancy, your baby’s heart organ starts to form and a heartbeat begins – though it is too early to hear the sounds at your prenatal visit as your little one’s whole body is the mere size of an appleseed!

At your doctor’s office, most often your ob/gyn will use a Doppler ultrasound to pick up the sound waves that will enable you to hear your baby’s heartbeat. For most moms, this will be somewhere between their sixth and eighth week of pregnancy.

Many expectant moms are sometimes taken aback at the speed of the little pitter patters – around 100 beats per minute and continues even faster to 120-160 beats per minute in the following weeks – sounding like our baby has just completed the Tour de France in our bellies! Some moms, upon hearing it for the first time, say it sounds like thundering horses. So no worries, as your doctor will let you know that the fast skips are typical of your growing baby.

And what to do in-between prenatal visits to catch the precious connection with your little one? Some moms savor the visit and look forward to the next, while others feel much comfort at having a baby Doppler at home – a nice way to say a warm hello to your little fellow or darling. Whichever one works best, your baby’s heartbeat is always an amazingly comforting, warm connection to your little one.

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Expert: Renee Sullivan

Renee Sullivan, parent coach and Founder of Babybites Moms Groups, works with moms each week to create their own personal parenting plan that is right for them, while making sure that each mom gets the support, resources, and community they need for their parenting journey. Drawing from her experience as an birth coach and educator, she guides moms – new, seasoned and expectant through the never – ending array of decisions that come with having a child. Weekly sessions that are “nurturing, informative, and fun” and her “calm-laid back personality” has made her a “dynamic resource” to the parenting community since 2006. Renee’s positive, warm and enthusiastic personality relaxes and guides new and expectant moms to enjoy the journey and her personal attention to detail allows all parents that work with her to quickly get the resources they need to feel at ease to make informed and educated decisions. Before starting the groups, she narrowly escaped the trenches of Corporate America where she was a Senior Project Manager for The New York Times, Morgan Stanley and Pfizer.

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