dude--you need a fetoscope!http://www.1cascade.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=2055
I bought one from Allheart.com medical supply for $20 and $7 shipping....best $27 I've spent on this baby yet!
I heard fetal heart tones at 16 weeks....whoah! (That is very early, but I was not a cool teenager and did not attend rock concerts.) And I certainly can hear them now, at 18w5d. Typically, everybody can hear fetal heart tones w/ a fetoscope at around 20 weeks. You can also hear other stuff, like your guts rumbling around, and the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the placenta (I know where my placenta is, in fact, b/c of my fetoscope.)
As you can see, a fetoscope looks different from a stethoscope because the fetoscope's chest piece is an exaggerated bell, so that it can transmit those tiny heartbeat sounds from deep inside.
|The chestpiece usually consists of two sides that can be placed against the patient for sensing sound — a diaphragm (plastic disc) or bell (hollow cup). ...The bell transmits low frequency sounds, while the diaphragm transmits higher frequency sounds. This 2-sided stethoscope was invented by Rappaport and Sprague in the early part of the 20th century. One problem with acoustic stethoscopes is that the sound level is extremely low.
Things that make hearing fetal heart tones w/ a fetoscope easier incl. having good hearing, making sure the ear pieces are in your ears properly (you would be suprised at how often misaligned ear pieces cause a fetoscope to malfunction!), and keeping a finger on the maternal pulse, so you don't confuse it w/ the fetal heart rate. And of course remember, a baby's heartrate is between 120-160 beats a minute, so it's speedy and quick compared to mom's pulse.
Squirmy 20-week fetuses move alllllllllllllllllllllllll
over (whether you feel it or not.) Recently I have had trouble finding my babe on many occasions, because there's a lot of room.
About.com has a decent discussion about listening to baby, too, and compares the stethoscope, Pinard horn, fetoscope, hand-held Doppler, and EFM:http://pregnancy.about.com/od/prenat...ningtobaby.htm
What does it sound like?
Well, very different from the doppler's galloping horse sound....and in my opinion, it's even more magical; it's so unmistakable. The best description I've heard is that it sounds like a clock ticking under a pillow.