No Heartbeat At 6 Weeks – FAQs

The concept of a foetal heartbeat graph

Foetal heartbeat is one of the indicators of your baby’s growth, health and development. Your baby’s heart usually begins to beat around the 6th week of pregnancy. If you don’t hear or see a heartbeat at 6 weeks during an ultrasound, it is quite natural for you to get worried.

No Heartbeat at 6 Weeks Ultrasound Scan: Is it Common?

It is very common to not hear a heartbeat at the 6-week ultrasound scan as it quite unlikely to hear a heartbeat if you are under 7 weeks pregnant. So, it is also common to have no heartbeat at 7 weeks but still feel pregnant

6 Weeks Pregnant No Foetal Heartbeat – Is This Normal?

Even if it feels like it isn’t, not hearing a foetal heartbeat at 6 weeks is normal and no reason for worry. It may simply be because it is too early in your pregnancy to detect a heartbeat. The gestational age of your pregnancy may also be inaccurate. An irregular ovulation pattern or an inaccurate estimate of your last menstrual cycle can mean that you may not really be 6 weeks pregnant. This could also be a reason for not hearing a heartbeat.

Apart from these, the type of ultrasound also plays a role. An abdominal ultrasound is less sensitive and may take longer to identify a heartbeat. Transvaginal ultrasound is more accurate, especially during early pregnancy as it is inserted into your vagina and has better access to the uterus.

Is there a Chance of a Miscarriage if your Doctor Doesn’t Hear or See a Heartbeat during the Ultrasound?

Lack of foetal heartbeat indicates a miscarriage in the following instances:

  • If you hear no heartbeat and your hCG levels are dropping.
  • Your ultrasound measurements indicate that a heartbeat should be present
  • Not hearing a heartbeat in the following ultrasound after you heard it in the prior ultrasound

Your doctor may also measure the crown to rump measurements with the foetal pole as a basis to determine the risk of a miscarriage.

If an embryo is larger than 5 millimetres and has no heartbeat, it may indicate a miscarriage. Also, if a gestational sac which is larger than 8 millimetres has no yolk sac or a gestational sac which is larger than 16 millimetres has no embryo is could indicate a miscarriage.

What if there is no Heartbeat on a Follow-Up Ultrasound Scan?

While no heartbeat in the follow-up ultrasound after a week may increase the likelihood of a miscarriage, there is still hope. If at the 7-week ultrasound no heartbeat is found it may still be possible that it is early in your pregnancy. This is possible if you have irregular periods. Even though it is seven weeks from your menstrual cycle, you may be at four weeks during your first ultrasound and five weeks at the subsequent one in case of irregular periods.

No Foetal Heartbeat at 8 Weeks Ultrasound – Is There Any Hope?

If your date is accurate and there is no heartbeat at 8 weeks, then there is a chance that you might have miscarried. However, there are specific instances where ultrasounds of pregnant women have found no heartbeat at 8 weeks but healthy babies were born.

What is a Normal Foetal Heartbeat?

A doctor listening to foetal heartbeat with a stethoscope 

A normal foetal heart rate ranges from 120 to 160 bpm (beats per minute) when it is first detected. The heart rate can rise to 170 bpm around the 10th week and lower to about 130 bpm after this until the end of the gestational period.

While the myocardium in your baby starts contracting around the 3rd week, a sonogram picks it up only after 6 weeks. The table below lists the ideal heartbeat rate at different weeks of pregnancy.

Week Heart rate
5 to 6 110
9 to 10 170
14 150
20 140
By term 130

How can you keep Foetal Heart Healthy?

There are several reasons why you may not have heard your baby’s heartbeat at 6 weeks. However, you couldn’t have any anything about abnormalities of chromosomes and genes. But, you can take the following steps to ensure that you do your bit to keep your baby’s heart healthy.

  • Take folic acid during pregnancy as it prevents congenital heart defects
  • Quit smoking. 2 percent of the heart defects in babies are caused due to smoking in the first trimester.
  • Keep your blood sugar level under control; especially if you have gestational diabetes.
  • Avoid using Accutane if you have acne as it puts your baby at risk of foetal heart defects.
  • Stay away from alcohol and drugs to avoid foetal alcohol syndrome and other complications.

Remember that 6 weeks may be too early to hear your baby’s heartbeat. But if you don’t hear it even after 8 weeks, then there may be a problem and you must consult your doctor.

Also Read:

Can You Feel Baby’s Heartbeat in Your Stomach while Pregnant
Heart Palpitations in Pregnancy
Fast Heartbeat During Pregnancy