Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring


Normal Fetal Heart Rhythms

Commonly Misinterpretted Sounds

1) Heart rate starts normal, then slows down:

Likely Causes: You may be pressing down too hard or picking up your own heart rate.

Solution: Wait 10 minutes, then take a new reading. Be cognizant of how hard you are pressing down.

2) You hear a "whooshing" sound, such as at the end of the clip below:

Likely Causes: This “whooshing” sound is blood flow in the placenta, which is perfectly normal!

Solution: Reposition the monitor to capture the fetal heart rhythm instead.

3) You hear a loud interfering sound. In the example below, this sound can be heard three times:

Likely Causes: The fetus has “kicked” or “punched” the doppler. This is perfectly normal.

Solution: If the fetal heart rate and rhythm can still be detected, go ahead and use this recording. If the interference is too great, wait 10 minutes and take a new reading.

4) You hear a lengthy interfering sound, followed by a slower heart rate:

Likely Causes: The fetus is moving around, eventually wriggling out of range of the doppler, which then picks up the mother’s heart rate instead.

Solution: Wait 10 minutes (or until the fetus settles down) and take a new reading.

Abnormal Fetal Heart Rhythms

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring