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Baby's Heartbeat

What is a normal fetal heart rate?

At about 5 weeks gestation, 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 by about 3 beats per minute per day during that first month.

AgeNormal Fetal Heart Rate
5 Weeks (Beginning)80-85 bpm
5 Weeksstarts at 80 and ends at 103 bpm
6 Weeksstarts at 103 and ends at 126 bpm
7 Weeksstarts at 126 and ends at 149 bpm
8 Weeksstarts at 149 and ends at 172 bpm
9 Weeks155-195 bpm (average 175 bpm)
12 Weeks120-180 bpm (average 150 bpm)
This is so exact in fact, that your doctor or midwife can actually use heart rate to help pinpoint the gestational age of your baby via ultrasound. The miscarriage rate is drastically reduced for pregnancies in which a mother has heard or seen a heart beat.

Typically the heart beat can not be heard with even a doppler until the 9-10th week of pregnancy at the very earliest (sometimes not until the 12-14th weeks of pregnancy). A baby's heart beat is very rapid, much faster than an adult. In fact it starts out near 180 beats per minute (BPM) and around 12 weeks gestation settles into the normal range of 120-160 BPM for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Even though you can not hear the fetal heartbeat until week 9 or 10, ultrasound is able to see a beating heart much sooner. An ultrasound can pick up the heartbeat as a "flicker" in the chest as early as four weeks after conception (6 weeks pregnant from last menstrual period).

By the beginning of the 9th week of pregnancy, the normal fetal heart rate is an average of 175 BPM. At this point it begins a rapid deceleration to the normal fetal heart rate for the middle of the pregnancy of about 120-180 BPM. There is also a slowing of the normal fetal heart rate in the last ten weeks of pregnancy, though the normal fetal heart rate is still about twice the normal adult's resting heart rate.

Your baby's normal fetal heart rate will also vary naturally, just as your heart rate does. Movement, sleeping and other activities can cause a normal variation.

Community Comments (1)

Comment from nikikaye87 » Posted 24 weeks ago
My baby's heartbeat at 14 weeks 1 day is 159 bpm! So excited! Good luck to all you moms and moms to be! Expecting baby #4 In September 2014!!!


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