Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you embark on this journey, you may find yourself wondering when you’ll be able to see your baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound.
The moment you see or hear that tiny beating heart can be an incredibly emotional and exciting experience for any expecting parent.
It can also serve as a reassuring sign of your baby’s health and development.
In this article, we’ll explore when you can expect to see your baby’s heartbeat and more!
- When Can You See Your Baby’s Heartbeat on Ultrasound?
- Why Might You Have an Ultrasound Scan at 5/6 Weeks of Pregnancy?
- When can you Hear Baby’s Heartbeat with a Fetal Doppler?
- Can Baby’s heartbeat be heard with a stethoscope?
- What if they Cannot See a Heartbeat?
- When is the first routine pregnancy scan?
When Can You See Your Baby’s Heartbeat on Ultrasound?
So, when can you expect to see a baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound?
Well, a baby begins to have cardiac activity between 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy.
This means that at 5 – 6 weeks pregnant, cardiac tissue starts to pulse, and, even though your baby does not have a developed heart at this stage, this registers as a visible heartbeat on an ultrasound scan.
Your baby’s heart is not fully developed until the 10th week of pregnancy.
On occasions, transvaginal ultrasound scans (also known as an internal scan) is able to detect a heartbeat as early as cardiac activity starts, at around 5-6 weeks pregnant, however, it is not unusual to be unable to detect a fetal heartbeat via an ultrasound scan until 7 or 8 weeks pregnant.
This is because at 5-7 weeks of pregnancy, variables such as the position of the mother’s uterus and the location of the baby can affect the visibility of the heartbeat on abdominal or vaginal ultrasound scans.
When Can You See a Baby’s Heartbeat with IVF Treatment?
If you have conceived after IVF, then you are likely to be able to see the baby’s heartbeat four weeks after oocyte collection.
Why Might You Have an Ultrasound Scan at 5/6 Weeks of Pregnancy?
- Previous miscarriage.
- You had fertility treatment.
- You are unsure how far along you are and want to confirm the gestational age of your baby.
- You are having one-sided pelvic pain
- You are experiencing vaginal bleeding or spotting.
- You want to confirm pregnancy after a positive pregnancy test.
When can you Hear Baby’s Heartbeat with a Fetal Doppler?
We now know that you can see your baby heartbeat as early as 5/6 weeks pregnant, and as late as 8 weeks pregnant, however, you might also be wondering: when will I be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat?
Hearing baby’s heartbeat for the first time is a wonderful experience- in fact, it is the first noise we hear from our babies.
A Fetal Doppler can reliably hear the heartbeat of your baby by around 10 – 12 weeks of pregnancy- which is when the baby’s heart is usually fully developed.
Your baby’s heartbeat is much faster than your own, with the normal range for a baby’s heartbeat being between 115 to 160 beats per minute at 12 weeks pregnant!
Can Baby’s heartbeat be heard with a stethoscope?
A baby’s heartbeat can be detected with a stethoscope- although typically, stethoscopes are not used. This is because it takes more time to be able to locate the heartbeat than with a fetal doppler.
A stethoscope can be used to detect a baby’s heartbeat at 18 to 20 weeks pregnant.
What if they Cannot See a Heartbeat?
If you cannot see your baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound scan, it can be a scary experience. However, if you have not had any signs of a miscarriage, it could simply be that it is too early in your pregnancy to see the heartbeat.
If you are less than 8 weeks pregnant, then it is likely that it is just too early for the heartbeat to be seen on the ultrasound scan. Your healthcare provider will likely ask you to come back again in a few days or a week to check again.
It is important to note that pregnancy dating can be off by up to two weeks.
When is the first routine pregnancy scan?
With the NHS, your first ultrasound appointment should happen between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.
This scan is also known as the dating scan, as it is used to accurately determine your baby’s gestational age.
So, if you have not been offered an early pregnancy ultrasound, or if you have not booked a private scan, between 11 and 14 weeks pregnant is when you will first see (and likely hear!) your baby’s heartbeat.
Louise McCamily serves as the Digital Marketing and Administrative Assistant at MyBump2Baby, where she has contributed to the creation and editing of more than 400 articles. She holds a prestigious Surfer SEO certification and a Foundation Degree in Software Engineering with distinction. Louise is passionate about delivering outstanding service to MyBump2Baby's expanding community of families.
Reach out to her at [email protected] for inquiries.