Pregnancy can be exciting. Can you feel the baby’s heartbeat? When will your baby start kicking? You are looking forward to these signs to let you know that baby is waiting inside and getting ready to come out into the world. So, when DO you start getting those signs? When can you feel your baby’s heartbeat? Today we’ll talk about this and try to give you a better idea of what the heck is going on in there. If you are ready, let’s discuss!
I can feel your heartbeat, baby!
It’s something that you are looking forward to and it is so hard to be patient. So when it the magic going to happen? When can you feel a little baby heartbeat? The thing is, while your baby’s heartbeat can be detected, actually feeling it… well, let’s go into that.
Common pregnancy myths: Feeling baby’s heartbeat in your belly
Feeling your baby’s heartbeat inside your belly is a myth. While some will swear to you that you can feel a baby’s heartbeat through your stomach or that you can feel your baby’s heartbeat in your neck this is simply not true.
Wait, what? I’m sure that I’m hearing it now!
Hearing baby’s heartbeat is simply not going to be possible unaided because your baby’s little heart is surrounded not only by their own developing body but the muscles in your stomach as well. That doesn’t mean that their heartbeat cannot be detected, however, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to get any detectable signs of your baby. Just not the heartbeat.
So what am I feeling?
There could be a few things that you could be feeling that seem to produce a pulse-like effect. We’ve collected a few examples for you:
- Baby is hiccupping – Generally this is something that is going to occur around your second trimester, possibly later. As your child is adapting for feeding and breathing they tend to swallow amniotic fluid. Don’t worry, this is harmless for your baby, but they do swallow it and your baby gets reactive ‘hiccup’ motions in response.
- Anterior placenta activity – During some pregnancies the placenta is placed at the front wall of the uterus. This means that it is right up against your stomach muscles and so any vibrations from there are going to be more noticeable to you. Again, this is not a heartbeat, but it is a sign of your little angel poking around in there.
- Kicking – Like a little martial artist, sometimes your baby is going to kick and it might even have a rhythm to it, as if they were practicing a routine. This is completely normal and while it’s not a heartbeat it is still pretty darned exciting!
- Your own heartbeat – Sometimes if you are noticing your pulse in another area of the body then it is easy to make the assumption that it is your baby. The best way to prove that you are simply feeling your own pulse is to measure the number of beats. Take your own pulse through your wrist or your neck and take a note of the counts per minute. Follow that up by taking your pulse from the tummy and you will see that the count is matched perfectly.
So how can I feel my baby’s heartbeat?
Why feel it when you can go an actually see it? An ultrasound can provide you with all of the evidence you need to know that your little one is getting along just fine in there. Generally known as a ‘transvaginal scan’ or ‘transvaginal ultrasound’, this diagnostic method employs high frequency) sound waves which travel forward and bounce back, providing data that creates an image of your insides. It’s harmless as long as it is used minimally and the principle it works on is based on echolocation (the means by
” Don’t worry if your doctor fails to detect a heartbeat.”
which bats manage to ‘see’ in the dark.). This method can sometimes detect your baby’s heartbeat as early as 5 and a half weeks into your pregnancy. After this time period your physician will likely schedule an abdominal ultrasound in order to check out your baby’s heart with greater efficacy. Aside from ultrasound imaging options available your physician may also employ a ‘Doppler device’ at around 12 weeks into your pregnancy as this is an extremely reliable way of detecting the heartbeat.
What if the doctor doesn’t detect a heartbeat?
Don’t worry if your doctor fails to detect a heartbeat during your first ultrasound. This can simply indicate that the size of your abdomen currently is not conducive to early detection of the heartbeat. Alternately, you might simply be too early into your pregnancy at this time for proper detection.
Are there any ways to hear baby’s heartbeat at home?
Actually, in this wonderful information age, there are methods that may be employed at home. Remember the Doppler device that we mentioned earlier in the article? There are home models that may be purchased which will allow you to detect your baby’s heartbeat just like the doctor did in the office. You can also purchase an odd variant of a stethoscope called a ‘fetoscope’, which looks like your doctor’s stethoscope except that the round, circular piece normally placed on your heart has been replaced with a horn-shape which is placed on your belly. Get a friend to move it about slowly while you listen and you should be able to find a tiny, muffled heartbeat. That’s your baby!
In this article we have discussed the myths and misconceptions associated with feeling your baby’s heartbeat. While you cannot actually feel it in your stomach or by pulse-jumps in your neck, there are certainly other means to detect your baby’s heartbeat via your physician or through the aid of specialized devices. In any case, don’t worry, you’ll be seeing a lot of baby during those ultrasound appointments. Your little one is doing just fine!