Fetal Heart Rate Facts

How do I calculate my baby's heart rate?

To calculate your unborn baby's fetal heart rate simply count the heartbeats you hear for 15 seconds and multiply that number times 4. This will give you an average of your baby's (BPM) beats per minute (15 seconds multiplied by 4 equals 60 seconds). You can count for any interval of time (i.e. 10secs x 6, 20secs x 3, 30secs x 2) and multiple that number to get to 60secs (1minute).

BPM Calculator

What should my baby's heart rate be?

The normal fetal heart rate is between 110 to 180 beats per minute (BPM), but can vary. Fluctuations of the fetal heart rate (usually associated with fetal movement) during different periods of the day are common and often rise above 160, going as high as 180 to 190 and are considered normal. If you have questions or concerns about your baby's fetal heart rate always direct them to your healthcare professional.

What hearing a healthy heartbeat signifies

Listening to a normally beating heart using a fetal ultrasound doppler as early as 8 weeks can offer reassurance and cut down on a lot of stress and help assure that the developing fetus is healthy. While miscarriage occurs in only about 15 percent of apparently normal pregnancies, it only occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies where a normal heartbeat has been seen or heard.

Can stress affect the fetal heart rate?

Recent studies conclude that changes in pregnant women's heart rate and blood pressure due to chronic stress and anxiety, can have an affect on the fetal heart rate.The study published in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics , February 2003 did not report any negative effects on fetal health but confirmed that emotional based changes in a woman's cardiovascular activity can have "real-time effects on a fetus according to Catherine Monk, Ph.D.

Previous study has shown that stress during pregnancy can cause an increase in the risk of low-birth weight and premature birth. More importantly, increased evidence suggests that pregnancy stress can actually affect the baby's behavior and functioning later in life.

The ability for expectant mothers to listen to the fetal heart rate with a fetal doppler offers a safe method of early fetal bonding which was previously only available at prenatal appointments with a medical professional. With its approval for in home by the FDA expecting parents have increasingly been opting to rent or purchase fetal dopplers to help relieve some of the stress associated with the unknowns of early and late pregnancy. Fetal doppler rentals are currently available through many online retailers at very affordable rates.

Can the fetal heart rate predict gender?

This old wive's tale just doesn't want to die. Your baby's fetal heart rate has nothing to do with the sex of your baby, though many have a great time with this myth. What you'll find as your baby grows and gestation progresses is that the heart rate will actually become slower. Does this mean we all begin life as a female? Genetically yes, but the heart rate still has nothing to do with the sex of your baby. Stick to the old fashioned way of finding out the sex - birth!

For more information:

Fetal Doppler Facts™ - All Rights Reserved 2007