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Newborn and Infant Care

Low fetal heart tones

06/23/1997

Question:

What is the signifigance of low fetal heart tones?

Answer:

The term low fetal heart tones is very general and could mean a variety of things. The fetal heartbeat can first be heard with an ultrasound device around 12 week's gestation. With a fetoscope (a special stethoscope used to hear the fetal heart) the fetal heart is heard between 17 and 20 week's gestation. The usual rate is between 120 and 160 beats per minute. As the baby matures the heart rate will decrease slightly. Some people say that a low heart rate means a boy, however this is NOT true, the heart rate is not related to the sex of the baby. For a more complete answer you need to check with your health care provider and see what they mean by the term low fetal heart tones.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati