Are Ultrasounds Accurate for locating a Baby’s Heartbeat

 

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Ultrasound machines can vary in technology. A mother’s size, the position of her uterus, the location of baby, and the accuracy of dating can all affect when a heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound. Even with all the variables, it’s very likely you will see a heartbeat by 7 weeks and extremely likely by 8 weeks of pregnancy. For most expectant mothers, the big news from an ultrasound has to do with their baby’s gender. But one of the biggest focuses for the medical team is the baby’s heart.

Nearly 1 percent of all babies in the United States are born with some form of heart defect, says Tammie Chao, MD, with MultiCare Regional Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time is indeed an incredible moment. Any parent would wish to experience that over and over again. And you can do so too, through the ultrasound diagnostic procedure, which lets you hear the fetal heartbeat and tells you if your pregnancy is progressing healthily.

Everything was perfect for those 2 ultrasounds. I went in for my appointment and got another ultrasound the baby died at 6 weeks 2 days. I waited a week to miscarry natural. I had no signs of m/c before that. Also i was measuring off by a week n ahalf.

Secondly, if they didn’t find a heartbeat than the pregnancy has probably ended. But. Some people believe that the rate of the fetus’ heartbeat, as heard during an ultrasound scan, can indicate its sex. Research shows no evidence.

A fetal Doppler is a test that uses sound waves to check your baby’s heartbeat. It’s a type of ultrasound that uses a handheld device to detect changes in movement that are translated as sound. How. The truth is, your baby’s heart will likely start beating sometime around week 6 of your pregnancy.

You can even see and measure this flicker of light on an ultrasound. The beats per minute (bpm). Detecting Fetal Heartbeat In detecting a fetal heartbeat, an ultrasound should be 100 percent accurate. If there is one, the ultrasound will detect it with ease.

The heartbeat is viewable during the gestational period beyond seven to eight weeks. When you go to your doctor for a check-up, they’ll use one of these devices — hopefully, not without warming the ultrasound gel first! — to detect your baby’s heartbeat from around 8 to 10 weeks. You may be able to hear – and see – your baby’s heart beat for the first time when you’re about 8 weeks pregnant if you have an early ultrasound exam. Otherwise, you’ll probably first hear it with a fetal Doppler at a regular prenatal care visit.

List of related literature:

Women who do not have prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy, including those with uncertain gestation, will not obtain all potential benefits from an early ultrasound, when determination of gestational age is most accurate.

“Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women's Health Nursing” by Sharon Smith Murray, MSN, RN, C, Emily Slone McKinney, MSN, RN, C
from Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women’s Health Nursing
by Sharon Smith Murray, MSN, RN, C, Emily Slone McKinney, MSN, RN, C
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013

That’s because the Doppler—the handheld ultrasound device midwives and doctors use to listen to the fetal heartbeat—doesn’t pick up much sound at all until weeks 9 to 12, and isn’t totally reliable until weeks 12 to 14.

“The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Genevieve Howland
from The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
by Genevieve Howland
Gallery Books, 2017

The Doppler ultrasound stethoscope, a more sensitive instrument, can detect fetal heartbeats as early as the 10th week of gestation and remains useful throughout labor.

“Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice” by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
from Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice
by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002

An ultrasound scan will reveal an amniotic sac and fetus and the fetal heart can be seen pulsating if the pregnancy is at least 7 weeks old.

“Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine E-Book” by Giovanni Maciocia
from Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine E-Book
by Giovanni Maciocia
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

Though internal monitoring gives a slightly more accurate record of the baby’s heart rate and your contractions than an external monitor, it’s only used when necessary (since its use comes with a slight risk of infection).

“What to Expect When You're Expecting 4th Edition” by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
from What to Expect When You’re Expecting 4th Edition
by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
Simon & Schuster UK, 2010

If a woman has irregular menstrual cycles, or had recently ended the use of oral contraceptive pills to get pregnant, then the obstetric provider will generally order an early (first trimester) ultrasound to establish an accurate EDC.

“Encyclopedia of Women's Health” by Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic
from Encyclopedia of Women’s Health
by Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic
Springer US, 2004

Although an inexpensive Doppler unit can be used to detect fetal heart motion, it is seen better by real-time ultrasound.

“Manual of Diagnostic Ultrasound” by Philip E. S. Palmer, Organisation mondiale de la santé, World Health Organization, World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology
from Manual of Diagnostic Ultrasound
by Philip E. S. Palmer, Organisation mondiale de la santé, et. al.
World Health Organization, 1995

Increasingly, both lethal and non-lethal skeletal dysplasias are being detected on prenatal ultrasound, and it is worthwhile to inquire if any ultrasounds were done during pregnancy and if any discrepancy was noted between fetal size and gestational dates [15].

“Pediatric Bone: Biology and Diseases” by Francis H. Glorieux, John M. Pettifor, Harald Juppner
from Pediatric Bone: Biology and Diseases
by Francis H. Glorieux, John M. Pettifor, Harald Juppner
Elsevier Science, 2011

If your first appointment is at seven weeks of pregnancy and you have an ultrasound, you should be able to see the baby’s heartbeat.

“Expecting 411 (4th edition): The Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Ari Brown, Michele Hakakha
from Expecting 411 (4th edition): The Insider’s Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
by Ari Brown, Michele Hakakha
Windsor Peak Press, 2017

Transvaginal ultrasound is useful in the first trimester of pregnancy because the close proximity of the intravaginal ultrasonic transducer allows for high-frequency scanning and thus better resolution of the pelvic organs and developing pregnancy than transabdominal imaging.

“Hacker & Moore's Essentials of Obstetrics and Gynecology E-Book” by Neville F. Hacker, Joseph C. Gambone, Calvin J. Hobel
from Hacker & Moore’s Essentials of Obstetrics and Gynecology E-Book
by Neville F. Hacker, Joseph C. Gambone, Calvin J. Hobel
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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28 comments

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  • I had one at 7 to 8 weeks 2 years ago. I’m 10 weeks right now and baby was healthy when I went last week. But now I just wanna see my baby again already 10 more days

  • If it’s any piece of mind, I had my ultrasound at exactly six weeks. There was a yolk sac and a gestational sac indicating that I was definitely pregnant, but no fetal pole or heartbeat. Just a big black empty circle on the screen. My doctor even said WORD FOR WORD, not to get excited because the baby will probably not develop (don’t like him much after that). One week later at seven weeks you could see everything, and I’m now 9 weeks away from giving birth lol. Sometimes, it’s just a little too early to tell! Have faith, it will all work out ����

  • Hey! I went to have a check up at 12 weeks and 4 days and my dr told me he couldn’t feel the top of my uterus yet and checked for a heart beat and couldn’t find one, but my next appointment at 17 weeks everything was perfect, it definitely is too early, don’t be scared ❤️

  • You shouldn’t put that in womens head about misscarages its already scary enough. I’ll be 10 weeks Friday and I dont need to be thinking about losing my baby. 4 to 5 weeks is when you’re most likely to experience miscarriage. Once you’re 8 weeks the chances are 4% and keep dropping. Unless the baby had a chromosome problem or you happen to get sick of have a hemorrhage that you don’t know about

  • This is why in the UK they don’t scan you this early(unless booked privately)
    It’s just too early.

    Don’t be disheartened, everything is probably absolutely fine!x

  • Angclica joseph i am saying the same thing all the best to them may God continues blessing you both and wear flats shoes thnxu lovu guys from Trinidad and.Tobago blessing to u

  • Sweet video, Congrats�� Hope this will be us soon!! I have appointment in mexico next month! hope everything will be okay! Pray for me! I count on you http://www.ivfinmexico.com Please make this miracle happens for me also!!!

  • Hey! New viewer here… I rhink I watched all your videos in the space of a couple of days… I love how gentle Mike is with you Abby. I’d like to have that sort of bond with someone one day. Much love from New Zealand xx

  • Sending you ALL the positive energy!! The exact same thing happened to us.. like literally the exact situation. 6weeks 1 day ultrasound with no fetal pole. We went back 2 weeks later and saw a healthy strong growing baby, and I’m wishing the same for you!

  • Aw babe. Welcome to motherhood!:) The worry doesn’t stop after the baby is born. Heck, I’m 30 and my mom still worries about me 😉 haha I know it’s hard, but really try to relax and enjoy the ride! All that worry isn’t good for you or the little nugget! Huge congrats to you both! You’re amazing parents! xo. love from San Francisco.

  • Abby and Mike we are so happy for you such incredible news! That look of relief when you finally heard a �� I can’t even imagine the emotions the happiness you guys were going through����pregnancy is such a blessing! We have four children… three boys and one baby girl��������!

  • Awwww hi baby!!!! Mark it with sharpie!!! Hahahha I LOVE IT! The only 3D ultra sound that I got was at 9 weeks! It’s insane how human like they look! It’s bonkers!!! Can’t wait for another update!!!

  • I’m so happy for you! I feel the same way. 10 weeks and 4 days and thought I would feel sicker, but not really having too many symptoms anymore. Tired of worrying and just want to enjoy my pregnancy

  • So exiting to hear the heartbeat wow all that nose you were hearing that was the baby moving actually in your tummy it’s amazing what you can hear on the doppler that’s how my daughter sounded yesterday at the doctors office she was running away from it lol

  • I’m a midwife in the ���� England where midwife care is the norm, please, please, please just get that Doppler and throw it in the bin, please.
    Non trained people (non drs and midwives) can easily and I do mean easily mistake maternal heart beat (dopplers can double readings often so that can look like a fetal rate) whooshing sounds from the placenta sound similar too and can show as a rate.
    I have personally cared for a couple of women and have known of plenty more that have noticed reduced movements or just felt different movement ect and have been reassured all has been well because they’ve heard the heart beat when they haven’t or it’s been abnormal and the baby has either been in trouble or already deceased. They didn’t report it as they were reassured when they for whatever reason (maternal heart rate/ placental ect) most certainly shouldn’t have been. If they had just gone for a check up babies lives could have been saved with emergency delivery instead babies died in utero.
    I do not mean to worry you or be harsh at all but this really worry’s me, in the UK there is attempt to get these home dopplers banned due to lives been lost resulting directly with home use of dopplers. It takes a long and in-depth training to be able to assess fetal heart rates, please leave this to the professionals and chuck it in the garbage where it belongs.
    Wishing you a healthy baby and happy pregnancy x

  • When I had my younger daughter, I went in to confirm a viable pregnancy at 6+1 (there were some signs of a possible ectopic that turned out to be nothing) and we saw a fetal pole and a heartbeat. But then with my younger son, I went in at 6+1 and we saw a gestational sac measuring 5+4 with a yolk sac but no fetal pole and no heartbeat. I went back in a week later and there was my baby boy with a heartbeat and measuring right on at 7+1. Some babies take a little extra time to snuggle in and then others do it right off. And there are other babies are just small-my older two kids were 5-7 days behind the entire pregnancy even though I knew my dates were right on.

  • Omg the same thing happen to me! They told me it was a miscarriage at first and than a ectopic pregnancy because my blood level was so low. Come to found out it was just an early pregnancy. I’m now 7 weeks and 4 days. I went to the doctor last Monday and I was 6 weeks and there was a little tiny baby. But couldn’t find heartbeat. We seen the heartbeat moving and pumping but we couldn’t hear it.

  • Going through this right now today i had my first ultrasound and i am 6weeks and 2days and i could only see the same things as you its hard and hurts but i know we’ve just got to stay positive.

  • Omg i know a few people who have been through exactly this and that was just because there cycles were longer or shorter in forget and the baby was smaller than they expected based on the amount of weeks and going by the first day of the last period. My friend went back 10 days later and everything was fine and baby was developing so I know Nova is born but anyone else going through the same try not to worry to much ❤️��

  • oh sweetie, i know how you feel. With my 3rd baby, we couldnt see a heart beat at 6 weeks, 1 week laterr there it was. Hang in there.

  • I have been watching you guys from the very beginning of your journey. I am so happy for you guys!!! You all are going to be wonderful parents!!! Sometimes having to struggle and wait makes you that more excited about it. My husband and I struggled with infertility since 2011 and just when we were about to give up we concieved identical twin boys naturally. Miracles do happen and I wish you guys the best for your baby girl. ❤

  • 6 weeks is usually when I had my miscarriages. But I’m high risk Pregnancy. I carried 3 to full term and lost 3 so I’m on my 7th Pregnancy right now and I’m on week 9 and 3 days… I bought a heart Doppler and I keep listening because I’m paranoid. I had spotting for 2 days after my husband and I were intimate and scared the crap out of me. We went to ER and baby looked great they said but I’m still scared. Listening to heart beat eases my mind

  • don’t be sad Ayla, each pregnancy is different, for example I read many people that knew their child gender at 12 weeks however i have to wait until week 17 to know that it is a girl. so try to maintain you in the positive side…lots of love from here.

  • I found out I was pregnant on April 30th and figured I was at least 8 weeks so I made an appt. Went in and the doctor could see almost nothing there, just a sac. I didn’t realize that I was only 4 weeks along. Went back once a week for a few weeks and saw the progression of baby. I’m 18 weeks now and baby is getting big. In the beginning I was so worried but it’s hard to see anything early, it wasn’t until around 7 weeks that the doc could say for certain that baby was fine. I’m sure in a week you’ll get to see something more!

  • Hang in there. No one really talks about the anxiety that comes along with the first several weeks of pregnancy, especially after TTC. I’ve been following you guys for a while now, during my own TTC journey. We are now 22 weeks along, and looking back, I wish I had enjoyed the beginning of my pregnancy more instead of worrying so much. I know it’s so hard, but try to stay positive. Try not to stress. Every week brings new worries, so try to enjoy what you can. Wishing you all the best! You’re already such caring parents to your little peanut.

  • I measured two weeks behind based off of my last menstraul cycle so I was super scared for my baby. As it turned out was that baby was healthyI ovulated late, but the fear was so real. After experiencing a few losses it’s hard to stay positive. I get it! I hope everything turns out for you guys!!! ��

  • beautiful loves,

    your sensitivity is justified and understandable, and dealing with the specific issue and circumstance is complex

    each per step at a time

    2 things to remember
    this reproduction specifically is different because part of the issue is uninvolved which raises success
    for this method it is not oddity etc for it to not work first implement that’s typical actually so for it to work so far for you is excellent also nor is it oddity etc for multiple attempts for implement to happen that’s typical

    can’t wait for next new vlog post on progress

    be&keep focus

    best wishes
    long may you have lightbrightest blessing

    ����

  • Omg i swea Ayla, your cute sweet face and puppy eyes trying to hold back your tears seriously breaks my heart. I just wanna hug you and tell you it’ll be ok keeping you guys and your baby in my prayers.