How to Hear Your Baby's Heartbeat Using a Stethoscope

One of the most reassuring sounds a pregnant mother can hear is the steady thumping of her baby's heartbeat. Before 20 weeks of pregnancy, fetal heartbeats are typically monitored by doctors using a heart rate Doppler. While buying or renting an at-home Doppler is possible, it is often too expensive. Thankfully, after 20 weeks a baby's heartbeat can often be heard using a relatively cheap and easy-to-procure stethoscope.

Stethoscope. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Step 1

Lie on your back in a quiet space. Background noise will make it more difficult to hear your baby's heartbeat.

Step 2

Feel your stomach and try to locate your baby's back. This will feel like a smooth hard area. It is the best location to detect a fetal heartbeat.

Step 3

Place the ear tips of the stethoscope in your ears and the chest piece along your baby's back.

Step 4

Listen carefully for a few minutes. If you do not hear your baby's heartbeat, try moving the stethoscope up or down on your baby's back. Be aware that you may pick up your own heartbeat as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Stethoscope

  • Quiet room

Tip

Don't worry if you do not hear your baby's heartbeat right away. How far along your pregnancy is, the baby's position, and the position of your placenta can all affect whether you detect your baby's heartbeat. If you are unsure whether you are hearing your baby's heartbeat or your own, try to time the beats-per-minute. The baby's heart rate will be much faster than your own--between 120 and 160 beats per minute.

Warning

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's heartbeat, contact your doctor.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.