You can never match the excitement of a mother whose gets to listen to her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It is that one thing ensuring her that the baby is doing well. Moms must know that it is impossible to hear the baby’s heartbeat unless you have a medical instrument that assists you in listening to those subtle rhythmic sounds of that tiny heart.
Some women often mention that they were able to feel their babies heartbeat—however, they could be mistaking it for a baby kick or baby hiccup.
Here are the possibilities of what is actually going on inside when you feel you caught your baby’s pulse.
1.It’s Your Baby Kicking In The Womb
Baby kicks could be difficult to distinguish from gas or bloating in the initial phase of pregnancy, especially for the new moms. Regular kicking may seem rhythmic and moms might confuse it with their baby’s heartbeat.
Moms might also pick up their baby’s hiccups for kicks.
2. Babies Also Get Hiccups
You could easily mistake your baby’s hiccups for their heartbeat—a hiccup could be intermittent or regular over a period of time.
Why does your baby get a hiccup?
You are likely to feel them from the early part of the second trimester or in the last trimester of pregnancy. Do you know that your baby learns to suckle and breathe right in the womb? Swallowing amniotic fluid is a part of it—fret not, this is common and nothing to be worried about.
3. You Might Be Feeling Your Heartbeat
There are more chances that you end up feeling your own heartbeat instead of your baby’s, without the aid of an instrument. If you are still not sure about it, count your heartbeats in a minute. Your baby’s pulse rate will be between 120-160 beats in a minute, while yours would be ranging between 60-80.
Check your pulse near your neck or at the wrist, while keeping your other hand on the belly, where you felt the heartbeat. You will find that both the heart rates are similar and very much yours, not your baby’s.
4. The Pulsating Anterior Placenta
Anterior placenta is when the placental position is on the front wall of the uterus. What you may be feeling is the placenta pulsating the blood to your baby, providing them with oxygen and nutrition. Anterior placenta isn’t a cause of worry—since the placement of placenta is closer to your stomach muscles, you can feel its beat.
How Your Baby’s Heartbeat Is Checked
By the 6th week of pregnancy, your doctor can check the fetal heartbeat using an instrument called fetal doppler or through an ultrasound.
It the most common way practitioners can detect the fetal heartbeat and ensure your baby is doing well. It is a safe procedure—it does not use ionizing radiation like x-rays and causes no harm to the baby. The high-frequency sound waves are passed from a probe—which is placed directly on the skin—through the gel and into the skin. It creates an image of the baby with the help of sound waves.
The Doppler ( a handheld one) must be used under medical supervision and only when there arises a need according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Parents can buy one and try listening to their baby’s heartbeat sitting at home.
It involves sending high-frequency sound waves through the skin to reach your baby. Any kind of movement in the fetus—even the movement of their beating heart—makes the sound bounce back and is captured by the device. The sounds are then amplified to be heard clearly.
Since it picks up all the movements inside the body of the mother—blood flowing in arteries, air and food moving in intestines, baby kicking—it becomes difficult distinguishing the heartbeat of the baby from other sounds.
Fetal stethoscope or fetoscope is another device to help you hear your baby’s heartbeat. Though it is a traditional tool to check the baby’s heartbeat, it is more often used by midwives—it doesn’t require batteries or maintenance and does not involve any kind of radiation that penetrates through your skin to the baby.
If you are getting one at home, you may need guidance when searching for a fetal heartbeat or trying to listen to it.
Feeling your baby’s heartbeat without these medical devices is impossible.
You could ask your doctor when buying a fetal doppler to know the usage since it also uses ultrasound waves.
It is alright if you are unable to detect a heartbeat at times. Babies keep moving around and may change their position, making it difficult to spot the heartbeat at the same place. The best way is to hear it when you visit your doctor for a prenatal checkup.