Hearing your baby’s heart beat for the very first time is one of the magical moments in any pregnancy. When you hear your baby, it makes the pregnancy feel so real and exciting. For most women, this is one of the highlights of pregnancy. It’s our evidence that the baby is healthy and strong.
Your medical caregiver will probably monitor the heart beat at every visit. You may make a mental note of the baby’s heart rate and compare this number at each visit. Any change in this number may make you nervous. You need to keep in mind that the baby’s heart rate does change as you get closer to the end of pregnancy.
During the third trimester, the fetal heart rate drops a bit. This often happens around the twenty eighth week of pregnancy. For example, it may drop from 140 beats per minute to 133 or 134. This drop is normal for this stage of pregnancy.
If you monitor the heart rate at home or at your visits with the doctor or midwife, it’s important to remember this drop. This will prevent you from getting scared when you notice the drop. The fetal heart rate will remain at the lower rate for the rest of the pregnancy.
A heart rate between 120 and 160 beats per minute is considered normal during labor. When you arrive at the hospital or birth center, a baseline heart rate will be monitored. If this is normal, you may be able to request intermittent monitoring for labor. This allows you to be up and moving, rather than confined to the bed.
During labor, the baby’s heart rate will be monitored for how it reacts to your contractions. There should be accelerations of about fifteen beats per minute during contractions. There should be no decelerations in the heat rate. This is considered a sign of fetal distress. If this happens, a c section may be done.