Baby’s Heartbeat: when does a baby’s heart start beating?

Baby's Heartbeat

To hear your baby-to-be’s heart is one of the most exciting and charming sounds expecting parents can hear. A baby’s heartbeat is not only a symbol of life but also brings a rush of joy and excitement. But when exactly does a baby’s heart start beating? In this article, we delve into the fascinating journey of a developing heart and when that magical heartbeat begins.

When does a baby have a heartbeat?

The heart is one of the first organs to develop in a growing embryo. It starts as a simple tube-like structure and begins beating even before most women realize they are pregnant. The formation of the heart begins around the third week of pregnancy, during the embryonic stage.

The baby’s heartbeat starts around the fifth to sixth week of pregnancy, which is typically three weeks after conception. At this point, the heart has developed enough to have a regular rhythm, and it pumps blood to supply vital nutrients and oxygen to the developing embryo.

When does fetal heartbeat start?

As the pregnancy progresses, the baby’s heart continues to develop and strengthen. By the end of the first trimester (around 12 weeks), the baby’s heart is fully formed, and the heartbeat becomes stronger and more consistent.

During routine prenatal check-ups, healthcare providers will continue to monitor the baby’s heartbeat to ensure it remains within a healthy range. A normal fetal heart rate typically ranges between 120 to 160 beats per minute (BPM). The heartbeat can vary slightly, and factors such as the baby’s activity level can influence the rate.

At-home fetal doppler

The expecting mother may also monitor the baby’s heartbeat with a fetal heartbeat doppler. Using fetal doppler should be seen as an additional bonding experience and should not be substituted for professional prenatal care. Read our step-by-step guide on how to use fetal heart doppler.

Baby's Heartbeat

When can you hear your baby’s heartbeat with Doppler?

The fetal cardiac activity can be heard with a fetal doppler around 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, it’s important to note that this can vary depending on factors such as the position of the baby, the mother’s body size, and the equipment being used. Some women with a smaller build or those who have had previous pregnancies may be able to hear the heartbeat slightly earlier.

Talk to your healthcare provider

Expecting mothers may start to use at-home fetal doppler around 15 weeks of pregnancy. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before using home fetal doppler at home. It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Use it sparingly, avoid prolonged exposure, and maintain realistic expectations. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions about using at-home fetal doppler.

fetal heartbeat doppler

Normal Fetal Heart Rate Range

The normal fetal heart rate can vary depending on the gestational age of the baby. Here are the general ranges for different stages of pregnancy:

  • 6-8 weeks: At this early stage, the fetal heart rate can range from 90 to 110 BPM.
  • 9-14 weeks: The heart rate usually increases to around 140 BPM during this period.
  • 15-20 weeks: Fetal heart rate typically stabilizes to approximately 120-160 BPM.
  • 21-30 weeks: The heart rate continues to hover between 120 and 160 BPM.
  • 31-40 weeks: Towards the end of pregnancy, the heart rate may slightly decrease, returning to the range of 110-160 BPM.


The baby’s heartbeat is a miraculous and awe-inspiring event in the journey of pregnancy. From the early stages of development to the reassuring rhythm during routine check-ups, the heartbeat serves as a beacon of hope and happiness for expectant parents. As the pregnancy unfolds, the baby’s heart will continue to beat, symbolizing the beginning of a new life and the extraordinary journey of parenthood.

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