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Discussion Forums » General Discussion
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Listening to the baby with a stethoscope
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1 Aug 2010, 23:21
24&pregnant.
Post Count: 22
Has anyone ever used a stethoscope to listen to the baby's heartbeat or movements? I'm almost 25 weeks and have heard that you can hear things going on inside with one but my husband never hears anything with one. Are we not far enough along or are stethoscopes not strong enough to listen?
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2 Aug 2010, 00:19
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
You can't hear a fetal heart beat with an ordinary stethoscope.
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2 Aug 2010, 01:02
24&pregnant.
Post Count: 22
Shouldn't you be able to hear him kicking or something?
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2 Aug 2010, 07:00
lithium layouts.
Post Count: 836
I think feeling them kick is just as good?
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2 Aug 2010, 11:52
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
@24andpregnant Yeah, you might hear some rustling from the baby moving, but there's a lot of other sounds going on in there, like bowel sounds, and your own heart sounds, so I'd think it would be pretty difficult to know what you are hearing.
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2 Aug 2010, 04:53
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
I get weekly newsletters and it even says that you can hear a fetal heartbeat through the skin. It also says you can hear it with a stethoscope if you tried. I'm 28 weeks, so I believe it's possible.
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2 Aug 2010, 07:29
Chris
Post Count: 1938
@RedFrag: Don't you just love it when people who aren't doctors argue medical stuff with you and have facts that don't come from medical sources?
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3 Aug 2010, 02:02
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
I don't need to quote medical facts. This is my second pregnancy and it isn't as if I'm wrong. They say this stuff, they didn't pull it out of their ass.
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2 Aug 2010, 04:56
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
I got one of those special machines to try and hear things with my daughter - even in the third trimester, all I was able to hear was muffled sounds & my own heart beat. I rarely ever picked up hers, and if I did, it was a fleeting few seconds and that was it. It was a total waste of $50.00. I was very tempted to buy a doppler offline and listen myself.. but our son is just difficult, and our MA's and Nurses have a hard time finding him sometimes, and they *know* how to do it - so I figured it'd probably just scare me more than it would be beneficial.. or I'd hear something and freak out, so I've opted not to get it. My news letters that I get (babygaga, baby center, what to expect are the three I get every week) started saying a few weeks ago that if your SO was quiet and listened carefully he might be able to hear your LO's heartbeat through your tummy WITHOUT a stethoscope or doppler. We haven't tried this yet, because I don't want to. lol
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2 Aug 2010, 08:12
NeL
Post Count: 1
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm

"Week 20 of gestation; week 22 of pregnancy
Lanugo hair covers entire body.
Eyebrows and lashes appear.
Nails appear on the fingers and toes.
The baby is more active with increased muscle development.
The mother can feel the baby moving.
The fetal heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope."

And FYI it was written by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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2 Aug 2010, 11:49
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
@nel I would think however that the stethoscope they are referring to is a pinard stethoscope which is particularly designed for that purpose, rather than an ordinary stethoscope.
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2 Aug 2010, 10:17
Half Dozen Mama
Post Count: 93
You can hear a fetal heartbeat w/ a stethoscope. I've done it throughout all of my pregnancies, starting AFTER the 20th week. It takes some practice, but it can easily be heard once you figure it out. Also, you use the bell side of the stethoscope. And you need to find the hardest part of your baby, which is usually the back, and listen there. :)

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2 Aug 2010, 10:25
Half Dozen Mama
Post Count: 93
Some midwives use wooden pinard horns, too. Google, they are pretty neat. :)
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2 Aug 2010, 10:53
amy
Post Count: 22
I got a doppler from ebay (only 15 so nothing fancy) when I was about 16 weeks and could hear his heartbeat from then on. I'm used to hearing my heartbeat so I knew what I was listening for (and it sounds completely different), but it was tricky to find sometimes.
Now his latest trick is to kick it as soon as it finds his heart beat, then have a huge wiggle so I lose it. He does this with midwives too, and doctors so it's not just me. He is just a cheeky baby.
I've never had anyone listen to it with a stethoscope, but idk if that means it can't be done.
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2 Aug 2010, 10:55
& skull.
Post Count: 1701
i don't know if i'm alone here, but i probably wouldn't bother trying to find the heart beat. i would more than likely fail to do so and end up feeling frustrated or worrying myself unnecessarily. feeling it squirming around in me would be enough. i don't even think i'd bother getting an ultrasound. my mum didn't. as far as her doctor was concerned, they weren't medically necessary.
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2 Aug 2010, 10:57
& skull.
Post Count: 1701
well, medically if there's an issue obviously. but it's not like you absolutely must get one if the baby's fine.
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3 Aug 2010, 18:02
Jessica [Private]
Post Count: 1751
@Ev: I definitely wouldn't try finding the heartbeat on my own, not at all. I'd freak out if I didn't instantly find it lol. I'd be quite content with feeling it.
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2 Aug 2010, 11:29
Transit
Post Count: 1096
Most women who buy dopplers are actually listening to their own heart beat
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2 Aug 2010, 11:55
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
@transit: That's exactly what I was about to say about stethoscopes.
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2 Aug 2010, 11:59
Transit
Post Count: 1096
@ Redfraggle: There was a problem a while ago as women were getting a sense of security from dopplers as they could hear that their baby was okay from the heart beat, which is quite worrying as it turned out most were listening to their own! One woman lost her baby as she thought she was hearing the babies heart beat, so she didn't go to the hospital. I don't know if you heard about it, it was on the news within the last two years I think.
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2 Aug 2010, 12:37
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
@Transit: No, I didn't hear about that. How tragic. Realistically though, when the heartbeat is gone, it's gone. Even if that woman HAD realised and gone to the hospital sooner, it would have been too late for the baby. The baby didn't die because she trusted the doppler rather than her own instincts (if the baby had stopped moving she must have suspected something wasn't right)... the real worry is that walking around with a dead baby inside your uterus can be extremely dangerous for the mother. She could have become septic and died (having a dead baby inside also leads to the blood overclotting, and using up all it's clotting factors and then the mother could end up bleeding to death because her blood can no longer clot). That is very concerning.

You're right though no woman should be listening to the heartbeat for reassurance purposes (not to mention, if she then can't hear the heartbeat it's probably because she's not got the doppler in the right place rather than because it isn't there, which will only caue anxiety). If the baby stops moving that's a far more reliable indicator that something is wrong.
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2 Aug 2010, 22:15
Immortal Shadows
Post Count: 109
I lost my baby at 24 weeks and she hadn't been alive for a few weeks, but luckily my body knew and I went into labour on June 8th and she was stillborn. I was out of the hospital the next day. Luckily nothing in my body was damaged. We got an autopsy and it didn't show anything abnormal.
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2 Aug 2010, 13:31
Half Dozen Mama
Post Count: 93
Walmart and Target make cheapie dopplers which, IMO, are a waste. After 5 kids and my midwife showing me how to use doppler devices (both electronic and regular cheap old stethoscopes) I was never able to pick up the fetal heartbeat with this cheapie doppler.

They have hospital grade dopplers you can rent and they work pretty good. www.bellybeats.com is where I've rented from in the past. They work just as well as the ones used in clinics & hospitals.

They have fetoscopes, which are stethoscopes that have the pinnard horn ideal going on, and are meant specifically for hearing the fetal heartbeat.

As I said, regular stethoscopes work as well. They take a bit more practice, but they do work. It may be a little harder or even impossible for a significantly fluffy mama to pick up the heartbeat using a stethoscope.

They have the pinnard horn, which I have never used personally but know a few home birthing mama's who have.

Its said that a fetal heartbeat can be heard from the outside, with no type of doppler involved.. just pressing the ear to the belly, but its never worked for us personally. I'd think you'd probably have to be a quite thin person for this to work and its really not worth the worry to even bother w/ this.


In all honesty though, knowing the difference between your own heartbeat and/or bolily noises and a fetal heartbeat is not difficult. A fetal heartbeat is very rapid, normally between 120bpm - 180bpm. A resting adult heart rate is usually 60-80 bpm. Its quite easy to distinguish the difference. I describe the fetal heart rate as sounding like rapidly galloping horses. As far as finding it, it takes practice, no doubt... but its fairly easy once you figure it out. Then again, I've been through 5 pregnancies and had my midwife teach me so I suppose I've had a lot of experience.
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2 Aug 2010, 22:35
24&pregnant.
Post Count: 22
Thanks for all the responses! I appreciate all the imput from all the other bloop mommies! :)
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3 Aug 2010, 01:35
Finally Mrs. Bailey
Post Count: 181
Looks like for once, RedFraggle got proved wrong.
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