How to hear a fetal heartbeat at home

Stethoscopes were created several centuries ago, so that doctors could listen to the internal organs of a person qualitatively: the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity – this greatly facilitated the diagnosis in those days when ultrasound, MRI, and CT were still not available.

To this day, a classic stethoscope is used by gynecology specialists during examinations of pregnant women to obtain timely information about the condition of the fetus. Therefore, more often than not, a classic device is now referred to as an “obstetric stethoscope”.

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Obstetric stethoscope

This is a hollow wooden tube (most often from birch), which expands significantly to one end (a funnel shape is obtained). The wider side of the device is applied to the woman’s stomach, and the opposite – to the doctor’s ear.

Of course, a woman will not be able to use an obstetric stethoscope on her own, for this she will need a patient assistant. Hearing the right sounds is not so simple, and even distinguishing them from other processes occurring in the abdominal cavity of a woman.

Later, the device was improved by the famous Russian doctor – a tightly stretched membrane was added to the tube, which enhances the sound. The updated device was called a phonendoscope. It consists of:

  • sound receiving device;
  • tubes for conducting sound;
  • handpieces that are worn as headphones.

Such a device, perhaps, is at your place complete with a household tonometer. However, it is almost impossible to hear the baby’s heartbeat with it.

Now, practicing physicians during the examination of patients actively use a stethophonendoscope. It is this device that you will see in the hands of a therapist or pediatrician, having come to him for an appointment. The sound receiver of the device has both a funnel (like a classic stethoscope) and a membrane. The specialist uses this or that side of the device in different situations. With the help of the funnel-shaped part of the head of a stethophonendoscope, a woman can independently hear the signals of the unborn child.

Today you will not surprise anyone with an electronic stethoscope for pregnant women (the second name is “fetal doppler”), created using the technology of noise suppression and sound amplification.

However, all these generations of a listening device – from a wooden tube to an electronic device – are commonly called a stethoscope.

Is the gender of the unborn baby determined by tremors

Is it possible to find out the sex of an embryo by its beating? There are various folk methods, but not one of them is confirmed by science.

There are several popular methods for determining the sex of the child by the heartbeat of the fetus, but doctors refute them.

One of these methods suggests listening to the fetal heart rate. In boys, adherents of such a technique claim, the heart beats more rhythmically and clearly, and in girls it is more chaotic, and the rhythm of the heartbeat does not coincide with the mother.

According to a second similar folk technique, the location of the heartbeat can be indicated on the baby’s floor. Listening to the tone on the left means that a girl will be born, and on the right – a boy.

The third folk methodology says that the number of heart contractions can indicate the gender of the baby, but there are so many versions of this method that they become very confusing. Some argue that girls should have more than 150 beats, then less than 140 beats per minute, and boys’s beats should be more than 160 beats per minute, then about 120. The exact timing of such tests varies.

Despite the amusement of these methods, they are nothing more than a guessing game. All these methods are completely refuted by scientifically proven facts, indicating that the number of heart contractions is affected by:

  • gestational age;
  • position of the mother’s body while listening to the heartbeat;
  • motor and emotional activity of the mother;
  • the health status of the unborn baby and mother.

Medical studies confirm that it is possible to find out the sex of an unborn child with 100% accuracy only by carrying out a special method during which amniotic fluid or a piece of tissue is taken for research

The mother can hear the first beats of the baby’s developing heart in the ultrasound room: on the 6th week with the help of the vaginal sensor, and starting from the 7th week – with the help of the usual one. And only from the 20th week you can listen to the cherished rhythm with the help of household electric stethoscopes.

Throughout the entire period of pregnancy, the heart rate will vary depending on the condition of the woman and her own developmental stage. There are averaged indicators of the number of heartbeats of a child per minute.

However, you must understand that you can’t just focus on the indicators of the norm and thus identify the problems of fetal development on their own. After all, the doctor, conducting the examination, takes into account both your general condition, and your age, and the presence / absence of diseases and many other factors that together form indicators of the normal course of pregnancy in a particular woman.

But to form a general representation, we give the parameters:

  • from the 7th to the 8th week, the frequency of heartbeats of the baby is 110-130 per min .;
  • 8-11 week – 190 strokes;
  • from the 11th reaches an average of 140-160 strokes and then fluctuates within these limits.

After listening to the heartbeat, we determine the nature of the tremors. The male sex confirms a clear rhythm, the female – chaotic and not coinciding with the heartbeat of a woman.

We determine the place where the beat is best heard, if on the left, then a girl is born, if it is listened on the right, then a boy.

We consider the number of strokes, for girls it should be more than 150, for boys about 120.

All three methods are very controversial, doctors argue that the rhythm, frequency of strokes and their number depend on the state of health of the woman and the child, and not on the baby’s gender.

One hundred percent to find out who is born a boy or girl, you can only pass for analysis a piece of placental tissue or amniotic fluid. Such an analysis is carried out only according to indications.

To grow a healthy baby, you need to constantly monitor the health of his heart. There are many different things that can be done to help a child’s heart grow healthy and full of strength.

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First of all, you need to completely and unconditionally abandon bad habits – from alcohol, nicotine and drugs.

You need to take folic acid, which will help the child develop normally. It is worth watching your diet, eating only healthy food and avoiding caffeine.

It is worth familiarizing yourself with all the risk factors. Despite the fact that I can’t wait to hear a healthy fetal heartbeat, you should initially familiarize yourself with the likely risks associated with the use of a cardiomonitor designed to monitor the baby’s main cardiac activity.

The main disadvantage is that the sound of a healthy heartbeat is able to lead to the appearance in pregnant women of an unreasonable feeling of complete safety.

For example, if the mother does not feel quite well, but still hears a fetal heartbeat, she may postpone the visit to the doctor.

You must listen to your body and contact your doctor at the very first symptoms of general malaise. You cannot rely entirely on cardiomonitors used at home.

Moreover, the presence of such a monitor in a room can seriously increase the overall female stress level.

It is important to get close to the child. With the permission of the doctor, you can begin to regularly listen to the fetal heartbeat. This is a special emotional feeling that will allow you to get closer to your child.

To feel the proximity, it is worth relaxing, try to take a warm bath for this and talk a little with your tummy. In the later weeks of pregnancy, the baby will begin to react in a special way to her mother’s voice and begin to feel her mood.

If the expectant mother wants to listen to her baby’s heartbeat from time to time, if she needs it, this can be done in different ways.

To have an elementary idea of ​​the condition of the child and the course of pregnancy, it is worth using these methods.

In this case, a home examination should in no case replace a full-fledged medical examination, which is prescribed by a doctor at certain time periods.

Before making listening to a heartbeat system, it is worth trying several methods and stop at the most suitable. Dad should also be connected to listening to the heartbeat, this will make the moment special for the whole family.

Electronic stethoscope for pregnant women: reviews

The device allows the expectant mother to hear from the 20th week of pregnancy:

  • heartbeat crumbs;
  • hiccups (it often happens in the baby, even in the womb);
  • sounds of movement;
  • processes occurring around the baby.

The opportunity at any time to be aware of what is happening with the baby calms many pregnant women and improves their mood. But it is worth observing the measure: do not conduct the study for longer than 10 minutes and more often 1 time per week.

An electronic stethoscope will help not only hear, but also record sounds, in order to send an audio file to relatives or listen to it later, after the baby is born. Mommy can also record the sound of her own heart so that this “melody” in the future helps to calm the anxiety of a newborn baby. After all, the beating of the mother’s heart will be associated with safety and comfort, and therefore relieve emotional stress, help calm down and fall asleep sweetly.

Most psychologists have long agreed that the sounds of nature or gentle classical music not only increases the baby’s comfort in the womb, but also has a beneficial effect on its development, both mental and physical. That is why women read or sing to the unborn child, talk with him. Some models of electronic stethoscopes allow you to turn on the baby a suitable audio recording in good quality.

Together with the device, headphones (sometimes 2 pairs for mom and dad), batteries (usually familiar finger batteries) and a cord for copying recorded files are sold in the kit.

Manufacturers claim that stethoscopes for pregnant women are absolutely safe, because they do not use ultrasound, alternating current or radio waves for work.

Forums of future mothers are full of reviews about how useful such a “toy” is for young parents: at any time you can make sure that everything is in order with the child, even if the baby is not behaving actively. This is especially useful for women who previously had the experience of a missed pregnancy: they feel more confident and worry less between visits to the doctor.

In the third trimester, mothers use the stethoscope less and less: the baby is already audible and many without additional devices can distinguish not only his movements, but even his mood.

If you want to buy a stethoscope for pregnant women, you may encounter the fact that some pharmacies have not even heard of this. Therefore, you have to monitor the range and prices of various online stores.

Obstetricians-gynecologists, in turn, say that such a home listening to the baby is a double-edged sword. Some women use the device incorrectly and as a result receive distorted data. Some, according to doctors, may confuse the pulsation of their own veins or the work of the intestines with the rhythm of the child’s heart. This is followed by misinterpretation, feelings and stress.

Therefore, for doubtful women who want to monitor the baby’s behavior in the womb, it’s better to buy a device and ask for a consultation with their doctor about the use of it: after all, each pregnancy is unique and individual and the general advice heard from friends may not be effective. And it’s definitely not worth doing diagnostics or identifying pathologies. Just put on your headphones and listen with pleasure as the little heart beats inside you.

In the embryo, myocardial bookmark is formed and begins to contract from 25–28 days. But you can hear the heartbeat without complex devices from 20 weeks. Doctors check his activity with the help of auscultation with a stethoscope and equipment: ultrasound, cardiotocography, echocardiography, ultrasound detector.

Before using the devices, you need to familiarize yourself with the contraindications, the features of the application. Before purchasing a home device, be sure to consult your doctor.

To check the development of the myocardium in the fetus, doctors use:

  • at an early stage – a transvaginal transducer of an ultrasound scanner;
  • from the middle of the first trimester – transabdominal ultrasound sensor;
  • from 18 weeks – obstetric fetoscope.

The first two methods are carried out according to the established examination schedule in the diagnostic room of the antenatal clinic. A stethoscope is used by obstetrician-gynecologists at every examination of a pregnant woman.

How to hear the fetal heartbeat at home from 5 months:

  • through a cardiomonitor with a loudspeaker;
  • using a mobile application;
  • listen with a stethophonendoscope.
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Instead of devices, you can simply put the ear to the stomach of a pregnant woman. This method is not used for diagnosis, since it does not allow to qualitatively evaluate the work of the myocardium.

Doctors measure your heart rate during a routine or emergency ultrasound scan. Heart rate can also be checked with a fetal doppler, fetoscope. At home, counting is carried out using a timer and a stethoscope, or products with the presence of this function.

The measurement procedure is accessible, painless, takes up to 10 minutes and does not affect the fetus. Models of the device come with headphones or a sensor. The doctor applies a fetal doppler to the stomach, searches for the location of the chest of the child and takes readings.

This device is also used to listen to the fetal heartbeat at home. Fetal Doppler price is at 17.10. 2017 starts from 2000 Russian rubles. You also need to buy an ultrasonic gel to improve the quality of the signal transmitted through the skin of the abdomen.

Since the beginning of myocardial bookmark contractions, doctors have been using the device to listen to a heartbeat from the cervix (transvaginal scanner transducer). Determination using a transabdominal ultrasound sensor is carried out in the II trimester. Doctors can check the clarity of tones, heart rate, rhythm, the location of the myocardium in the chest of the child, and identify a defect in the ventricles of the heart or atria. The procedure is painless, but listening to a heartbeat is obtained only if there is a speaker.

Expectant mother can buy portable devices for monitoring the cardiac activity of the child. Late pregnancy allows you to listen to the heartbeat through a fetoscope, smartphone using the application or without using devices.

These products have application features. Can a fetal heartbeat be heard with a phonendoscope? No, this medical device clearly picks up high-frequency sounds: pulse, wheezing in the lungs, similar noise. The funnel-shaped structure of the stethoscope allows you to clearly hear the beat of the heart.

A simple phonendoscope can be replaced with a stethophonendoscope. The device on the head is equipped with a flat membrane on one side and a dome-shaped element on the other. It is a concave surface that searches for the baby’s heartbeat at 8 points on the right and left of the navel. Their location will tell the obstetrician. How much is a phonendoscope? The price of a quality product starts from 700 rubles.

How to listen to the fetal heartbeat at home?

Young mothers listen to their body and analyze all the changes that occur in it. The first signs of pregnancy, especially if a woman is having a baby for the first time, are very important and each one experiences these feelings with some joy. The heartbeat of the baby indicates its vitality, the work of organs and health.

To begin with, let’s determine: why do you need to regularly listen to the baby’s heart, is it necessary? What does it matter? There are several reasons why this is simply necessary:

  1. Confirmation of pregnancy. What time can you hear the fetal heartbeat for the first time? This can be done at a period of 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, just when the expectant mother first goes for an ultrasound scan. Just at this stage of development, the heart is formed and begins to actively pound. If there is no knocking, this indicates the absence of a fetal egg, and hence pregnancy. Also, silence indicates a frozen pregnancy, when the fetus stops in development and dies.
  2. Assessment of the health and condition of the child. Throughout pregnancy, starting with the first study, the baby’s heart is regularly heard. If the work of the heart is characterized by high rates constantly, even at rest, this indicates placental insufficiency. The reverse situation indicates a deterioration in the condition of the child and gradual death.
  3. Child development and diagnosis of parameters during labor. During delivery, you must constantly listen to the baby’s heartbeat, because in the process there is a lack of oxygen and strong pressure on the fetus. The heart and blood vessels throughout the body experience a lot of stress, so it is so important to listen to the heartbeat in order to prevent child hypoxia.
  • Ultrasound, of course, will be in the first place, with the help of which a visual assessment of the embryo and the fetus, as well as the condition of the placenta, is performed. The tone and heart rate of the ovum are studied in particularly detail. With the help of ultrasound, various infectious diseases, heart defects, as well as other deviations in the development of the baby’s organs, are predicted.
  • Cardiotocography, which is briefly called CTG. The second most effective method after ultrasound. With it, the activity of the fetus, the work of the heart, both at rest and during periods of mobility, are recorded. It should be noted that the first procedure is done for a period of 32 or more weeks. During this period, the phases of rest and activity of the child are formed, in which the work of the heart is easily heard.
  • Echocardiography, like the previous study, focuses specifically on the heart, and not on the general condition of the child. Such an examination is done during the period from the 18th to the 32nd week of pregnancy with special indications, for example, heart disease, infections in the uterus, pregnancy after 38 years, and developmental delay.
  • Auscultation. Can a fetal heartbeat be heard with a stethoscope? Definitely yes, this procedure is called “auscultation.” It is used not in a conventional device, but in an obstetric one, which is more accurate and sensitive. Using the procedure, the position of the child and the rhythm, the frequency of the heartbeat are revealed.

All these methods can be implemented only in equipped rooms, all require consultation and assistance of specialists. Future mothers are interested in the question: how to hear the fetal heartbeat at home? It is intimate and something very close that connects mom (dad) and the child. Therefore, many future parents want to hear their baby, not only in the presence of a doctor.

How to hear the fetal heartbeat at home? We put in the first place precisely the doppler, which is the most common device. It can be used from the 12th week of pregnancy, purchased at a pharmacy. There are completely different models – from simple to advanced. The first option involves listening to a heartbeat using headphones, in which you can hear the number of beats. The device consists of:

  • from the display, which is color in the new models, in simple copies it is not at all;
  • dynamics that conducts sound and processes it, bringing to the hearing of parents;
  • battery, which allows the device to work up to 15 hours.
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The device allows you to hear the fetal heartbeat at home quickly and clearly, but many are wondering about its effect on the child. There is no reason to worry, so you can safely use the device without worrying that it will harm. The difficulty lies in the fact that the child can feel the operation of the device and change the location, which will change the indicators and affect the result.

Surely every family had such a device at home, many still had it from their grandmothers, because before they listened to the pulse when measuring pressure, when the devices were still mechanical. As time goes on, technology changes and the question arises: is it possible to hear the heartbeat of the fetus using a phonendoscope? Of course you can, it is an analogue of an obstetric stethoscope, which, incidentally, can also be purchased at a pharmacy.

Both devices are simple to use, you just need to attach them to the surface of the abdomen. The difficulty lies in the fact that in addition to the work of the heart of the child, there are other sounds – contraction of the uterus, the work of the intestines or the work of the heart of the mother. It is very difficult to count the number and rhythm of contractions; you need help and qualifications, which are often not available.

The most common question of future parents is the following: is it possible to hear the fetal heartbeat with the ear? You can, but talk about specific indicators, the accuracy of the results is completely impossible. If the expectant mother is overweight, then the heartbeat will probably not be heard. Also, the difficulty is that you need to listen at a certain point, it cannot be defined in general, it is individual, it depends on the location of the child:

  • If the child is lying upside down, then you need to listen below the navel.
  • If the location of the child is at the level of the pelvis, then listening occurs above the navel.
  • If the pregnancy is multiple, then the knock can be heard at different points.

The first time to clearly hear the heartbeat of a child in the womb, this is an exciting and amazing moment for every woman, and even for a man.

This is not only the satisfaction of the maternal need for networking, but also the need, which is able to make it clear to the doctor many about the state of human health.

Every expectant mother seeks to resolve the issue of how to listen to the fetal heartbeat at home, as it is a direct opportunity for her to make sure that the baby is growing correctly.

For the future mother, several different methods and methods are open with which you can hear how a person’s heart beats.

There are standard methods that can be implemented in all modern clinics, and there are such methods that can be carried out at home.

Women who are expecting a baby must definitely talk with a doctor. This is a special relationship between the patient and the doctor, which is very important.

Pregnancy is a huge responsibility and a very important period of life that must be entrusted not only to a professional, but also to a qualified attending physician.

It is very important to talk with your doctor about the development of the child, and also to find out what methods exist for listening to the baby’s heartbeat.

If the doctor has been selected as carefully as possible, he will not only correctly manage the pregnancy, but will also patiently answer the numerous questions of the future mother. A good doctor will definitely tell you when you can hear the child’s first heartbeat and invite you to an appointment.

The first listening must be done in the doctor’s office. The specialist will explain what rate of heartbeat exists for a given period, as well as how to listen to the heart on their own at home.

Most doctors prescribe listening to the heart in the period of 9-10 weeks and before childbirth. It is at this point that you can prepare numerous questions that you plan to ask a specialist.

It is very important to know how listening is carried out, for what purpose this event is carried out, and also what are the norms of heartbeat in the fetus in the womb.

Do not forget that listening to the heart is a rather emotional and exciting visit. It is for this reason that it is worth taking a future dad or other relative with you at the reception.

The first heart sounds at a doctor’s appointment can be heard when a nurse or doctor uses a device such as a fetal doppler.

This device uses sound waves to enhance the heartbeat.

In the process of such an examination, you need to lie down on the examination table, after which the doctor conducts a stomach sensor with a small size.

This is a unique procedure and a very sensitive device with which you can listen to the heart with the complete absence of any painful sensations for a minimum period of 9-12 weeks.

To hear a heartbeat at an earlier date, you can use a procedure such as an ultrasound scan. This is an ideal opportunity to hear the heart at 7-8 weeks, that is, approximately then, the fetus shows a heartbeat in the fetus.

The procedure at this time is prescribed infrequently, usually only with certain alleged risks to the woman and the fetus. In normal situations, the procedure is performed no earlier than 10-12 weeks.

In the doctor’s office, a variety of devices for listening to the heart can be used. In addition to the above, a device such as a stethoscope can be noted.

Unlike other devices, this device is characterized by reduced power indicators. The device is used no earlier than in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Many doctors and obstetricians, if necessary, decide how to hear the baby’s heart, can use a device such as a fetoscope.

If ultrasound and other serious methods cannot be used at home, then other devices can be purchased and auditioned at home.

Before using this or that home method, regarding how to listen to the fetal heartbeat, it is necessary to consult with your doctor.

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.