Does Heartrate Drop as the Baby Gets Older?

Jane Foley's picture


Dear Ms Ultrasound,
I had a scan at 8 weeks and they said the fetal heartrate was 180 bpm. I bought a doppler and at 10 weeks the heartrate was 165, at 11 weeks it was 158 and at 12 weeks it was 150. The heart rate seems to be dropping by about 8 bpm a week. Is this normal or is my baby in trouble?



Hi Susan,
A variable heart rate is quite normal. The heartbeat is normal anywhere between 120-170 on the average. If you imagine a very tiny heart beating it will have to beat or almost flutter to push enough blood through the fetal pole. As the heart grows bigger it does not have to beat as fast to be efficient.

Please be careful not to cause yourself undue anxiety with the doppler, reading too much, etc. It is so easy in this day an age to get caught up with so much science, forgetting to just actually enjoy the connection with your unborn child. Mother to child.

I give you permission to relax. Your baby sounds fine.

-- Jane, RDMS