When I was pregnant with my first child, it was all so new to me; I was constantly trying to find answers to every question I had. One day, I touched my stomach and thought that I felt my baby’s heartbeat! Have any of you ever experienced this?
Well, I needed answers because I have never heard of it before. So, I looked online to find out that it is impossible to feel your baby’s heartbeat in your belly.
The reason is, everything is guarding your baby’s heart. From your child’s heart, there is their body, amniotic fluid, the placenta, your stomach muscles, and your skin to your hand on your belly.
All these things make it impossible to feel your baby’s heartbeat physically.
However, there are a few things you could be feeling. You could either be feeling your baby kick, your heartbeat, your baby hiccupping, or your placenta beating if you have an anterior placenta. Even though you can’t feel your baby’s heartbeat, there are ways that you can hear it.
If your child is anything like mine, they will hiccup a lot while you are still pregnant.
According to HealthLine, fetal hiccups can be what you feel if you are farther along in your pregnancy; typically, the end of the second trimester or later. Fetal hiccups are normal and should let you know that your baby is developing exactly how they should be.
They happen either because your child is learning how to suckle or breathe and they are swallowing some amniotic fluid. Swallowing the amniotic fluid is completely harmless for the baby, so there is no reason to worry.
Besides your child's hiccups, you could also just be feeling your baby kick. If it doesn’t seem like the regular movements you are used to, that’s okay.
Sometimes a baby can kick you in a rhythmic way that will sound like a heartbeat. A kicking baby means that your child is growing and developing as they should be.
If you didn’t know what an anterior placenta is, it just means that your placenta attached to the front wall of your uterus. Having an anterior placenta is typically no cause for any concern.
If you have an anterior placenta, you might be able to feel the placenta beat because it is so close to your stomach muscles.
You could just be feeling your own pulse through your thumb. If you aren’t sure, there are plenty of ways for you to test if it is your heartbeat.
Your baby’s heartbeat should usually fall anywhere between 120 and 160 beats per minute. Their heartbeat can fluctuate depending on movement, hiccups, kicking, and other factors.
Take your pulse and then touch your stomach and count each beat you feel. You can also feel your neck and stomach at the same time to see if they beat at the same rate.
According to Livestrong, your doctor might check for your baby’s heartbeat through obstetrical ultrasound or fetal doppler once you are at least six weeks along.
Don’t worry, the device is small and doesn’t hurt. However, it may cause discomfort in some women. Some babies’ heartbeats are visible on an ultrasound at 5.5 weeks; if you can’t see your child’s heartbeat, try not to panic as it happens for a reason.
At every obstetrician-gynecologist appointment you have throughout your pregnancy, they usually check your baby’s heartbeat with a doppler. If you are not scheduled to have an ultrasound, they will use a portable doppler to listen to the heartbeat.
Listening to your child’s heartbeat is important to make sure they are developing the way they should be. Trust me, there is no better feeling than hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
If you can’t find your child’s heartbeat, that is also okay. Babies tend to move around and change positions, so their heartbeat might not be in the same spot every time you check.
Although it may seem obsolete, you can use a fetoscope to check your baby’s heartbeat. A fetoscope (or fetal stethoscope) is just a device that mixes qualities of a Pinnard Horn with qualities of a stethoscope.
If you plan on using a fetoscope, you will need another person to assist you. The other person will guide the device while you listen.
They will place their forehead on the forehead rest, put the horn on your belly and continue to move around your stomach slowly until you detect a heartbeat. Your baby's heartbeat should sound like a very muffled watch or another rhythmic device that is under a pillow.
A fetal doppler (you can click here to see our buying guide) is just like one that your doctor uses in their office, but you can easily use it at home.
You should buy more gel for a fetal doppler if you use it often, just remember that it sends ultrasound signals to your growing fetus.
It is physically impossible to feel your baby’s heartbeat in your stomach. There can be several things that you are feeling, such as hiccups, kicking, placental pulse and your heartbeat.
Please remember that if you hear anything that you think is abnormal while monitoring your baby’s heartbeat at home, consult a doctor; never try to make a medical diagnosis on your own.
If you have any questions, please post them underneath and I would be very happy to reply.
Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).