Can Fetal Heart Rate Vary?

QUESTION

Dear Ms Ultrasound,
The date of my last missed period was March 30, and I am usually regular with 28 or 29 day cycles. I had my first visit to the OB yesterday, and I was 6 weeks two days he said. He did a vaginal ultrasound, but said that the heartbeat was "a little slow" and wants me to come back next week after I am 7 weeks to see if the baby grows more and if the heart rate increases. He said sometimes that at first, they may start out slow and then pick up. Is that true?

Thanks.
Jam

ANSWER

Hi Jam,
The good news in your information to me is there is a heartbeat!

Yes the heart rate can vary. I have seen a slightly lower heart rate and had the patient come back for a follow-up and everything is fine. So relax!

The best advice I can give is to enjoy these early developmental days of your pregnancy. I think it is helpful to have worry free time in early pregnancy which aides in the healthy development of your child. Enjoy!

-- Jane, RDMS

Jane Foley

Jane Foley has worked as a Sonographer (Ultrasound Technologist) since 1979. Jane has lived and worked in many parts of the world including Saudi Arabia. She is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or RDMS. She pulls a wealth of information from her experience in the field of Radiology and her interactions with such a broad cross-section of cultures she has visited. She now makes her home on the island of Maui with her English husband, Michael.