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A normal baby's heart rate is important to know because it is one of the vital signs that can give an overview of the baby's general he alth. A baby's heartbeat that is too slow, fast, or irregular could be a sign of a disorder that requires medical attention
Human vital signs are determined by several factors, namely blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate. Normal baby heart rate is not the same as the heart rate of children and adults.
To find out a normal baby's heart rate and what conditions can cause an abnormal baby's heart rate, see the discussion below.
Knowing Normal Baby Heart Rate
The baby's heart rate is measured based on how many heart beats per minute. A baby's heart rate can be faster when he is active and slower when he is sleeping.
A normal baby's heart rate ranges from 100–160 beats per minute (bpm). However, this heart rate varies according to the age of the baby. In newborns, heart rate can be influenced by genetic factors and the gestational age of the mother when the baby is born.
The following is a normal baby heart rate guide that Mom and Dad can use to monitor the he alth condition of the Little One:
- Newborn: ranges from 100–205 beats per minute while awake and 90–160 beats per minute while sleeping
- Age up to 12 months: ranges from 100–180 beats per minute while awake and 90–160 while sleeping
- Age 12–24 months: ranges from 98–140 beats per minute while awake and 80–120 beats per minute while sleeping
To check the baby's normal heart rate, Mom and Dad can put the index and middle fingers on the wrist, the crease of the elbow, the inside of the neck, or the top of the ankle in the Little One. Count the number of beats in 30 seconds, then multiply by two.
What Happens If Baby's Heart Rate Is Abnormal?
An abnormal baby's heart rate is also called an arrhythmia. This is a condition in which the heart rate can become faster or slower, or the rhythm is irregular. Arrhythmia consists of several types, including:
A baby's heart rate that is constantly faster than normal is called tachycardia. There are two types of tachycardia that usually occur in infants and children, namely:
- Supraventricular tachycardia, which is the most common heart rate abnormality in infants in the first year and is caused by disturbances in the heart's electrical signals
- Ventricular tachycardia, which is a type of arrhythmia that starts in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). This condition causes the heart to not pump enough blood to the body
A baby's heart rate that is slower than normal is called bradycardia. Just like tachycardia, there are two types of bradycardia that are most common in infants, namely:
- Heart block, which is a condition when the electrical signal that supplies the heart is blocked and affects the heart cells in the right atrium that function as a natural pacemaker
- Sinus bradycariae, often occurs in premature babies due to exposure to drugs before the baby is born, respiratory problems, and hypothermia
Premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions
An abnormal baby heart rate can also be a sign of premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions. In this condition, your baby's heart rate may be faster than usual, or there may be an additional beat that is faster than the baby's normal heart rate.
Premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions are considered common and normal if they occur only occasionally. However, if it happens frequently, it could be a sign of a heart problem in the baby.
An abnormal baby's heart rate can be caused by heart problems or other he alth problems, such as infections or metabolic disorders. Therefore, it is important for fathers and mothers to know the normal baby's heart rate so that they can more quickly find any abnormalities experienced by the little one.
Don't hesitate to take your little one to the pediatrician if Mom and Dad feel the baby's heart rate is not normal, especially if this condition occurs frequently or lasts long enough.