In this Article
- What Is a Normal Foetal Heartbeat?
- No Heartbeat At 6 Weeks – Is it Normal?
- Is There a Chance of Miscarriage If You Don’t Hear or See a Heartbeat During the Ultrasound?
- What If There Is No Heartbeat At the 7th Week Ultrasound Scan?
- No Foetal Heartbeat At 8 Weeks Ultrasound – Is There Any Hope?
- What If You’re Told That You’ve Had a Miscarriage?
- Is It Possible to Hear the Baby’s Heartbeat At Home?
- How Can You Keep Your Foetus’ Heart Healthy?
Foetal heartbeat is one of the indicators of a baby’s growth, health and development. Normally, a baby’s heart begins to beat after the 6th week of pregnancy. If, during an ultrasound, you don’t hear or see a heartbeat at 6 weeks, it is quite natural to get worried.
What Is a Normal Foetal Heartbeat?
A normal foetal heart rate ranges from 120 to 160 bpm (beats per minute) when it is first detected. The heart rate can then rise to 170 bpm around the 10th week and fall to 130 bpm until the end of the gestational period.
While the myocardium in your baby starts contracting around the 3rd week, a sonogram picks it up only after 6 weeks. The table below lists the ideal heartbeat rate at different weeks of pregnancy.
|5 to 6||110|
|9 to 10||170|
No Heartbeat At 6 Weeks – Is it Normal?
It is very common to not hear a heartbeat at a 6-week ultrasound scan. In some cases, moms-to-be don’t hear their baby’s heartbeat until they’re 7 weeks pregnant.
Not hearing a foetal heartbeat at 6 weeks is normal and there’s no reason for worry. The gestational age of your pregnancy may also be inaccurate. Due to an irregular ovulation pattern or inaccurate estimate of your last menstrual cycle, you may not really be 6 weeks pregnant. This could also be the reason for not hearing a heartbeat.
The mom-to-be’ds body itself may be one of the factors. A tipped uterus or a large abdomen may make it difficult to hear the foetal heartbeat.
Apart from these, the type of ultrasound also matters. An abdominal ultrasound is less sensitive and may take longer to identify a heartbeat. On the other hand, transvaginal ultrasound is more accurate, especially during early pregnancy, as it is inserted into your vagina and has better access to the uterus.
Is There a Chance of Miscarriage If You Don’t Hear or See a Heartbeat During the Ultrasound?
Lack of foetal heartbeat indicates a miscarriage in the following instances:
- There’s no heartbeat and your hCG levels start
- You don’t hear a heartbeat in subsequent ultrasound checkups.
- Ultrasound measurements indicate that a heartbeat should have been present.
Your doctor may also measure the crown to rump measurements with the foetal pole as a basis to determine the risk of a miscarriage.
If an embryo is larger than 5 millimetres and has no heartbeat, it may indicate a miscarriage. Also, if a gestational sac which is larger than 8 millimetres has no yolk sac or a gestational sac which is larger than 16 millimetres has no embryo is could indicate a miscarriage.
What If There Is No Heartbeat At the 7th Week Ultrasound Scan?
While no heartbeat in follow-up ultrasound scans may signal a miscarriage, there is still hope. If there’s no heartbeat at the 7th week ultrasound, it may still be too early. Assuming seven weeks have passed after your menstrual cycle, you may still be at four weeks during your first ultrasound and five weeks at the subsequent one in case of irregular periods.
No Foetal Heartbeat At 8 Weeks Ultrasound – Is There Any Hope?
If your conception date is accurate and there is no heartbeat at 8 weeks, then you might have lost your baby. However, there are also instances of healthy babies who didn’t have a heartbeat at 8 weeks.
What If You’re Told That You’ve Had a Miscarriage?
If your gynaecologist tells you that you’ve miscarried and suggests a particular course of treatment, make sure you’re confident of the treatment being the right choice. If you aren’t 100% sure, ask for another follow-up ultrasound. You can also wait for a few more days so long as you’re not at risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Alternatively, also get a second opinion from an Ob-Gyn.
Is It Possible to Hear the Baby’s Heartbeat At Home?
According to doctors, it’s difficult to hear foetal heartbeat at home with the human ear. Some expecting mothers claim that they can hear their baby’s heartbeat through their belly, but this can only be possible in a quiet room and in the later stages of pregnancy. If you can’t hear your foetus’ heartbeat at home, schedule a sonogram with a qualified gyneacologist.
How Can You Keep Your Foetus’ Heart Healthy?
There are several reasons why you may not hear your baby’s heartbeat at 6 weeks. Although there’s little you can do about it, you can take the following steps to ensure your foetus’ heart is healthy.
- Take folic acid during pregnancy as it prevents congenital heart defects in the baby.
- Quit smoking if you do. Did you know that 2 percent of heart defects in babies are caused due to smoking in the first trimester?
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control, especially if you have gestational diabetes.
- Avoid using Accutane if you have acne as it puts your baby at risk of foetal heart defects.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs to avoid foetal alcohol syndrome and other complications.
Remember that 6 weeks may be too early to hear your baby’s heartbeat. But if you don’t hear it even after 8 weeks, then consult your gynaecologist to rule out possible complications.