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A 25-year-old female asked:

Is it possible for doctor to mistake the moms heartbeat and the babys heart beat when using a fetal doppler? doctor couldnt find babys heartbeat for awhile & said because baby was being sneaky until she found it few minutes later. it was 140 bpm?

3 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nicole Touchet
Family Medicine 30 years experience
Fetal heartbeat: Yes with a Doppler ultrasound (the usual method in an office), it can take a few minutes to find the fetal heartbeat due to baby's position or movements. 140 beats per minute is a normal fetal heartbeat.
Dr. Brad Goldenberg
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Location: Optimal location on the abdomen will ensure the accuracy with a Doppler, but a characteristic fetal heart rate is usually in the 120-160 range, and because the fetus likes to move around, it takes a skilled sonographer sometimes to locate them. Location, location, location ! Sometimes when mom is a little stressed out, her heart rate can be elevated and confuse the technician...
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Some basics: In a resting state moms heartbeat is easy to locate & will range in the 70's to 90's under most conditions. At the same time the fetal heartbeat will rarely if ever be below 120 unless baby in in distress. It is also a chore to find as it requires baby to be in a helpful position. Docs also fear not finding a heartbeat & may appear more focused/concerned until they do.

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Last updated Oct 15, 2019

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