Fetal Heart Beat

Fetal heartbeat, one of the most reassuring sounds that you get to hear during pregnancy! A distinct heartbeat starts around 6 weeks of pregnancy and you will be able to hear it for the first time by around 8-10 weeks. But the heart is too small for the sound to be audible at this point. Even when it is amplified with an appropriate equipment, the sound may not be audible.

When can you hear the heartbeat?

Generally one gets to hear this thump during their first prenatal visit. The exact time at which it will be picked up clearly depends on the accuracy of your due date, your body weight, and also the position of the baby within the uterus. If you are not able to hear it even then, do not fret – it is more common to hear this sound when it is 12 weeks.

What is used to monitor fetal heartbeat?

Fetal Doppler

Fetal Doppler is a small instrument that transmits fetal heartbeat. This instrument is able to detect fetal heartbeat by 8-9 weeks, though faintly. The beat is audible and consistent by 12 weeks of pregnancy and you will be able to hear it comfortably.


Fetoscope is a modified form of the stethoscope that amplifies fetal heartbeat. It is used by your gynec to monitor your baby’s heart, and this is usually used by about 20 weeks of pregnancy.

When can you see the heartbeat?

You may be able to see the fetal heartbeat during your first scan.

Fetal heart rate

The fetal heart rate varies during different stages of pregnancy ranging from 120 beats per minute (bpm) to 170 bpm. The rate is around 170bpm at 10 weeks and then gradually decreases to 120 bpm by full term.

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