We all love to listen to our heart. But how can we listen to the heart of our unborn child? Expectant moms are quite anxious to hear their baby’s sounds. With a stethoscope you can, under certain conditions. Isn’t it wonderful? Hearing the thumping heartbeat of the fetal baby can give parents to be an assurance that the baby is growing as he or she should be. It also provides information to the doctor or gynaecologist about the baby’s health.
You can hear the unborn child’s heartbeat with a number of methods such as stethoscope, fetal Doppler, pinard horn, fetoscope, obstetrics ultrasound and currently even through Apps. Doppler is quite expensive. Generally, you are able to listen to the baby’s heartbeat when you are almost 8 weeks pregnant using an obstetrics ultrasound. Else, you are able to listen to the baby’s heartbeat in the region of 10 weeks to 12 weeks using a fetal Doppler by visiting a pre-Natal care hub. Currently, we are concerned about how to listen to the baby heartbeat at home.
But how can you hear baby heartbeat with stethoscope? Yes, you can. But how early can you be hearing baby with stethoscope? How many weeks? In this article, we shall discuss on how to hear the baby heartbeat at home using a stethoscope. A basic stethoscope is the simplest method to hear the fetal heartbeat at home. When you are about 18 and 20 weeks pregnant, the fetal heartbeat will be strong enough to be audible. Please buy a quality stethoscope from a reputable vendor. A good quality stethoscope can be bought at good local drugstore or sometimes also from stores selling office supplies. You may even borrow from a family member or friend, if they have. It is relatively cheap and easy to buy.
In case you have any queries or worries about your baby’s heartbeat, please contact your doctor.
Lie down on your back in a quiet room. If there is background sound, it will be difficult to hear your baby’s heartbeat.
Caress your stomach and attempt to find your baby’s back. This will sense similar to a smooth hard area. This is the topmost location to detect a fetal heartbeat.
Put the ear tips of the stethoscope in your ears and the chest piece along your baby’s back.
Hear with full awareness for a few minutes. If you do not perceive sound of the baby’s heartbeat, move the stethoscope up or down on the baby’s back. You may accidently even sense up your own heartbeat. Simply put the stethoscope on your stomach and listen. Patiently move it around a bit to find the heartbeat. Can you hear baby heartbeat with stethoscope? Position the stethoscope as near to the heart as possible. You might even have to position it firmly into your belly to obtain superior contact with the baby.
Do not be anxious if you do not perceive sound of the baby’s heartbeat immediately. Your baby’s heartbeat is influenced by a number of factors such as the foetus position, your placenta’s position, your weight and the accuracy with which the conception date was determined. It becomes quite difficult or impossible if your baby is placed posterior. The baby’s heartbeat will not often possess the clear thumping sound of your own heart. It is quite softer and more similar to the feeling in your eardrums and not very audible. If the room is very quiet and you focus carefully, you may perceive the sound. All stethoscopes are not equal – some perceive sound better than others. That is the reason to buy a good quality stethoscope.
Baby’s heartbeat sounds like a lot of galloping horses. The heart rate of a baby can vary in the range from 120 to 160 beats per minute in the womb. When you listen to it for the very first time, it can be a beautiful experience. In case the heart rate is slower or faster than the range of 120 upto 160bpm, it may imply a problem and one should contact the physician.
Here are the major developments happening to the baby at specific time intervals:
At 6 weeks – the baby appears like a small tadpole with a large bulge where the heart is and a bump at the head end of the neural tube. The heart can at times beat on a scan of vaginal ultrasound at this stage.
At 7 weeks – the embryo has grown to about 10mm long from head to bottom. The brain is growing rapidly. The embryo has a large forehead, and the eyes and ears continue to develop. The limb buds start to form cartilage, which will develop into the bones of the legs and arms.
At 8 weeks – the baby is also known as foetus, which means ‘offspring’. Its legs are growing longer and also forming cartilage.
At 9 weeks – the baby grow around 22mm in length. The face is forming gradually with bigger and visible eyes with some colour. There is a mouth and tongue, with tiny taste buds. The major internal organs such as the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and gut continue developing.
At 10 weeks – The heart is now fully-formed. It beats 180 times a minute – that’s twice upto thrice as fast as your own heartbeat. The baby is making small, jerky movements which can be seen on an ultrasound scan. The ears and jawbones with milk teeth form.
At 11 weeks – The face bones are forming. The eyelids are closed, and will not open until next few months yet. The ear buds begin to look like ears.
At 12 weeks – the foetus is fully formed. All the bones, limbs, muscles, and organs are well in place, and the sex organs are well developed.
At 14 weeks – At 14 weeks, the baby is about 85mm long from head to bottom. The baby starts to swallow small amounts of amniotic fluid, which go through the stomach. The kidneys begin to work and the swallowed fluid passes back into the amniotic fluid as urine.
At 15 weeks – your baby begins to hear. The eyes begin to get sensitive to light.
At 16 weeks – The muscles of the baby’s face is capable of moving and it can make facial expressions. The nervous system keeps on developing, and in effect allows the muscles in the baby’s limbs to flex.
At 18 weeks – your baby is growing quickly, and now weighs around 150g. The body enlarges and the body and head become proportionally sized. The lines on the skin of the fingers are created and the baby therefore possesses her or his own personal fingerprints. The baby moves around quite a bit, and may react to loud noises from the exterior like music.
At 20 weeks – your baby’s skin is covered with a greasy whitish looking substance also known as the vernix. It is thought that this helps to protect the skin during the many weeks in the amniotic fluid.
At 21 weeks to 22 weeks – At 22 weeks, your baby weighs around 350g. Your baby starts to into sleep and waking up patterns. Your baby is practising breathing movements to prepare for life outside the uterus. Your baby gets its entire oxygen from you through the placenta, and henceforth will continue to do so until it is born.
Video Guide: “Listening to the baby’s heart beat”
In case you do not detect the baby’s heartbeat, it could be due to a number of reasons. Most the reasons are not a cause for alarm. However, do practice care specifically as per your case.
- Your dates could be wrong– A number of times, it is difficult to get the conception date with accuracy. This also sets the due date off course as well. Each week causes vast developmental alterations to your child. Even if the dates are a week off, you won’t hear that heartbeat when you anticipate it.
- Your uterus has slanted– The degree of slant will determine the baby’s heart position. Many times, the heart may be very far away to be perceived through your belly.
- The baby has turned– The position of the baby also influences the sound perception of the heartbeat. The stethoscope must be very near to the heart to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
- You have gained too much fat– During pregnancy, pregnant women do put on extra weight. Subcutaneous fat gets accumulated in skin layers and behaves as soundproofing layer for the womb. In case, you have gained a lot of weight, or were heavy initially, this can impede sound perception. The baby must become bigger with a stronger heart to hear sound.
- There could be a chance of miscarriage– This is the one cause that all mothers are anxious about. Sometimes not being able to hear a heartbeat implies that there has been a miscarriage.
The very first time, you listen to your baby’s heartbeat, it is a remarkable and astounding moment. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time boosts your bonding with your baby. Using a stethoscope, you can. However, please ensure that the stethoscope is of good quality.