There is nothing quite so magical as that first moment when you get to hear your baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s office. It brings the gravity of your new situation into focus, and that clear, strong beat becomes the most important thing in your life. This makes lots of parents wonder if they can recreate this experience at home. Lots of moms and dads wonder if you can hear a baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope.
This article will go through different methods that you can utilize to listen to your baby’s heartbeat, and explain when each device can be used.
When Can You First Hear A Baby’s Heartbeat?
You will usually first get to hear your baby’s heartbeat about 10 or 12 weeks into your pregnancy. This pulse will usually be measured using a fetal doppler, which is a handheld ultrasound designed to listen to fetal heartbeats.
You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat earlier if your caregiver decides to do an ultrasound. The earliest that a heartbeat can be detected with this method is about eight weeks.
Can You Hear Baby’s Heartbeat With A Stethoscope?
While you might be able to listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope, it is not merely as straightforward as sticking it to your belly and listening in. There are a couple of factors that need to line up just right for you to hear a heartbeat in this manner.
Gestational Maturity - In order for you to be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope, your pregnancy will have to be on its last legs. Once your baby has come full term at 37 weeks, you might be able to listen to their heartbeat with a stethoscope.
Baby’s Position - Even though your baby is quite big for your belly at full term, they still might not be in the proper position for you to be able to hear their heart. If they don’t have their back pointed your way, you will have a tough time finding it.
Tools To Listen To Your Baby’s Heartbeat At Home
There are several different methods that you can use to try to hear your baby’s heartbeat at home. Several of them are low-tech and cheap but not won’t work early on in the pregnancy. To check in on your baby’s heartbeat earlier on, you will need a more sophisticated, and expensive, monitor.
Stethoscope - An incredibly cheap tool which you can purchase here, a stethoscope can be used for listening to a mature baby’s heartbeat, all you do is put the headset in your ears and try place the paddle on your belly, listening carefully for a heartbeat.
Pinard - This tool has been in use by midwives for a long time. It consists of a tapered opening that it placed on the stomach, while the narrow end is positioned in the user’s ear. Once again, this can only be used during the last little bit of pregnancy. If you’d like to give a Pinard a try, check this one out.
Fetal Stethoscope - A fetal stethoscope, is another excellent low-tech option for home heart rate monitoring of a full term baby. It is basically a combination of a Pinard and a regular stethoscope, combining the conical shape of the Pinard with the headset of the stethoscope.
Home Fetal Doppler - This is by far the most expensive home option, is also the best at locating and monitoring your baby’s heartbeat. While not quite as advanced or powerful as the monitor your doctor will use, it is a close second. If you want to check in on your little one quickly and easily, be sure to check out a baby heartbeat monitor for the home.
The Beat Marches On
So there you have it! You can listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a regular old stethoscope, as long as your baby is feeling cooperative and is full term. If you’d like to take a listen in before then, you can always get a home doppler kit, which, while more expensive, will give you doctor quality results in the comfort of your home.
Whatever method you choose to utilize to monitor your baby, make sure you savor every little beat!