One of the most exhilarating noises expectant parents may hear is the distinctive thump of a baby’s heart. Everything you need to know about your baby’s development of this critical system can be found right here.
After learning you were pregnant, the first thing you likely anticipated was hearing the thump, thump of your baby’s heartbeat. There are few things more reassuring than hearing that sound.
The heart and circulatory system undergo significant changes every week of your pregnancy, despite the fact that they may appear the same to you from one visit to the next.
When did you first hear the heartbeat of your unborn child?
Heart tubes begin to beat spontaneously in newborns at week five; however, they are still too small to be able to hear the beat.
In the first trimester, a qualified sonographer or your practitioner can see if your baby’s heart is beating by performing an ultrasound (usually between weeks 6 and 9 of pregnancy). Your projected due date and the number of babies you’re carrying will both be confirmed during the ultrasound.
When will you be able to hear the heartbeat of your newborn?
If you have an ultrasound around week 10, you may hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. However, the timing may vary.
You haven’t heard it yet, have you? There’s no need to be alarmed. It’s most likely just that your bashful guy is tucked away in a recess or has his back to the Doppler, making it difficult to locate him. Your doctor will double-check everything at your next appointment to make sure it’s all good. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to hear the heartbeat of your unborn child then.
Heart rate of a fetus that is considered normal
Your baby’s heart beats at 110 beats per minute by 6 weeks of age. The fetal heart rate will reach 150 to 170 beats per minute in just two more weeks. The speed difference between the two of you is almost two times!
Your baby’s heart beats at a pace of roughly 170 beats per minute by the ninth or tenth week of pregnancy. The heart rate will drop to 140 beats per minute around week 20.
There can be transient changes outside of the usual fetal heart rate range during labor for a variety of reasons (often entirely acceptable).
When will you be able to use a Doppler to hear your baby’s heartbeat?
You may hear your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler as early as week 10 if you use one around the 12-week mark. This handheld ultrasound equipment will enhance the pitter-patter of your heart, which will be placed on your abdomen by your doctor or midwife.
To be safe, only use home fetal Dopplers under medical supervision, according to specialists, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Among other things, these devices are less sophisticated than those used by doctors, so they may miss a baby’s heartbeat and generate an undue panic among expectant mothers. In addition, without instruction, using a Doppler at home can be difficult. You might think your baby’s heartbeat is your own, for example.
When is a stethoscope able to pick up a baby’s heartbeat?
Approximately eight to ten weeks after your baby’s heartbeat is heard by Doppler, you can generally hear it with a stethoscope around week 20 of pregnancy.
Heart and blood vessel development in your infant
During pregnancy, your kid’s fetal heart begins to develop, and even after delivery, your baby’s ticker continues to change as your infant adjusts to life outside the womb.
Development throughout the first trimester of pregnancy
At this point in your embryo’s development, a separate blood vessel has formed inside of it, which will eventually become the heart and circulatory system of your baby. Your baby’s heart begins to beat for the first time at the end of the fifth week of pregnancy.
At this stage, it looks like a tube that will later twist and divide to create the heart and valves (which open and close to release blood from the heart to the body). During the first few weeks of development, the embryo’s precursor blood vessels also begin to form.
By the sixth week of pregnancy, your baby’s heart has four hollow chambers, each having an entrance and an exit to allow blood to flow in and out.
At 12 weeks, your baby’s circulatory development continues to be exciting as the bone marrow in his or her body begins to produce blood cells.
Development in the second trimester
To prepare for life after birth, the fetal brain begins to control the heartbeat from 17 weeks. (The heart had been beating on its own up until this moment.)
Your doctor will examine the anatomy of your baby’s heart during an ultrasound in the second trimester to rule out any birth abnormalities.
Fetal echocardiography, performed between 18 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, may be recommended by your doctor if he or she requires a better listen and look at your baby’s heart. If your family has a history of congenital cardiac problems, or if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria, or an inflammatory condition, you should obtain one immediately.
Week 25 sees the formation and filling of capillaries (the tiniest blood vessels). Small blood vessels called capillaries play an essential role in the circulatory system because they transport oxygen-rich blood from the heart’s arteries to tissues all over the baby’s body and subsequently return deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
Development in the third trimester
By the end of the third trimester, the baby’s circulatory system will be ready to make its first appearance outside the womb.
Fetal heart anatomy and function
A baby’s circulatory system grows rapidly during pregnancy, but the way it works before and after birth is extremely different.
The lungs do not function before birth because newborns do not breathe in gestation. Until then, the umbilical cord supplies oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to his developing circulatory system. When your kid needs something from you, the umbilical arteries and veins take care of getting it to him and then return unoxygenated blood and waste materials to you for disposal.
Almost all of the changes between the fetal and adult hearts are designed to keep blood out of the baby’s lungs, which are unnecessary while he or she is still in the womb. The fetal heart contains the following features:
There are three shunts in all. Blood is diverted away from the lungs and liver as a result of these short pathways.
The arteriosus duct. The pulmonary artery (which will later deliver blood from the heart to the lungs) joins the aorta via this part of the fetal artery (which will bring blood from the heart to the body). It diverts blood away from the lungs while the baby is still within the womb.
An oval or oblong wound. Another method the heart’s upper chambers divert blood away from the lungs is through this particular hole meant specifically for pregnant women.
These fetal differences start to fade or disappear altogether once your baby is born. He takes in air, the fetal circulatory system is turned off, and the shunts close after the umbilical cord is cut. It’s game on in every way!
From the moment a pregnancy test shows you’re expecting, the heart of your unborn child is swiftly growing and altering. Prenatal vitamins, quitting smoking or vaping, and avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs can all help guarantee your baby’s ticker has the best possible start.