Hearing your baby's heartbeat is a beautiful thing and there's nothing quite like hearing that thudding sound that sounds either like a train chugging or sometimes galloping horses.
We often get asked if baby's heartbeat can be heard during a scan. The answer is Yes, but not in the first trimester as a part of an early pregnancy scan or early reassurance scan. Why? You may ask..
The first trimester is a vital stage in development and the tiny little heart is only a few cells thick. It is a miracle that we can actually see these tiny hearts flickering away at anything from 110-180 beats per minute (bpm). To listen to a baby's heart beat using ultrasound we would need to use pulse wave doppler which on an ultrasound machine is a bit stronger than a hand help doppler that your midwife would use. Because baby's heart is so tiny and developing at this stage it is just best to wait until a bit later and after this early development stage to avoid any potential risks.
Can we measure the baby's heart rate during an early scan?
Yes, we can. Using M-mode. M-mode stands for "motion" mode and can detect a tiny hearts motions. When using M-mode the ultrasound beam picks up all movement across the length of the beam of the sound waves and creates little hiccups when motion is detected. By measuring the distance between these little hiccups we can measure the amount of beats per minute and be sure that there is a heart beat and how fast it is beating. You can also see your baby's heartbeat which can be very reassuring.
We have access to truly amazing technology but it does need to be used by trained professionals who have an understanding of the technology itself and how it works.
At Early Life Ultrasound Centre we are always making sure sure that your experience with us is as enjoyable and informative as possible, but we are also safety conscious and ensure that we are always taking care of the clients who use our service.