Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women and a twin pregnancy can bring even more excitement and nervousness. One of the most common questions we get from parents is when they can expect to hear heartbeats in twin pregnancies.
A baby’s heart starts to develop between weeks 5-7 in pregnancy (which is 3-5 weeks after conception). Typically, a heartbeat can be seen and heard with a transvaginal ultrasound starting after 6 weeks of pregnancy, though sometimes it takes a little longer. With two fetuses, both heartbeats can be seen and heard separately on ultrasound.
The fetal heartbeat will often have a “whooshing” or “thumping” sound, depending on what mode of ultrasound is being performed. It will be louder or quieter depending on how far the fetus is from the ultrasound probe.
A fetus’s heartbeat may be slow when the heart is first developing, but will gradually increase to 150-170 beats per minute (BPM) by about 9 weeks. Eventually, all fetuses’ heartbeats should be between 110-160 BPM. Twins’ heartbeats should also be in this range; it is normal for them to vary from each other and from visit to visit.
There have not been any studies proving the correlation between heartbeat and gender.
Although a fetal Doppler can be bought for at-home use, experts caution against it. Parents often use the Doppler incorrectly, leading to anxiety if they cannot find a heartbeat or if the heartbeat does not sound right. This coupled with improper use can worsen anxiety rather than giving you peace of mind about your unborn child’s health.
Another concern is that complications are missed when tracking your fetuses’ heartbeats at home. At-home Doppler machines often pick up on the mother’s heartbeat so you could be missing warning signs of irregular fetal heartbeat.
At Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, our registered diagnostic medical sonographer and team of fetal medicine specialists can help you develop a plan for prenatal care and safe pregnancy. We offer fetal echocardiography, amniotic fluid testing, genetic testing, and other specialized services. If you are in need of an ultrasound examination or have any questions, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!