One of the major highlights of pregnancy is hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. This was a really big deal for me with all four of our babies. That moment when you hear your baby inside your womb is priceless.
For many parents, hearing the heartbeat is the first real connection they feel to the baby. Suddenly, the baby seems real. Sometimes parents who were ambiguous about the pregnancy feel very differently after hearing the baby’s heart beating.
The heartbeat can be heard by Doppler sometime around the tenth week of pregnancy. It won’t always be heard in the tenth week, so don’t panic if the doctor doesn’t hear your baby. By about the twelfth week, the heartbeat will definitely be heard on the Doppler.
If you have a doctor’s appointment around this time, you can expect to hear the baby’s heartbeat. This is an exciting visit, so plan ahead. Try to arrange your appointment for a time when your husband or partner can join you. Fathers often feel disconnected from the baby, particularly in early pregnancy. Being there to hear the heartbeat is a great way for him to feel involved.
Once you hear the baby’s heartbeat, you will want to share it with everyone. One way to immortalize this precious moment is to record the heart beat. You can do this with a small, hand held cassette recorder. I recorded the heart beat with all four of our babies. The kids have enjoyed hearing the tapes later.
While you are making your recording and reveling in the sound of your baby’s heart beating, your doctor will be listening and counting. The doctor will count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. This gives the baby’s heart rate in beats per minute. The normal range is from 120 to 160.
There is an old wives’ tale that says the speed of the heart rate can reveal the sex of the baby. According to this theory, a higher heart rate indicates a girl. A heartrate nearer to 150 is said to belong to a female. Some people swear by this. I have four babies and their heart rates were all similar. Only one was a boy, the rest were girls. So, enjoy the baby’s heart beat, but don’t paint the nursery just yet!