Hearing Fetal Heart rate with a regular stethoscope - Mothering Forums
Unassisted Childbirth > Hearing Fetal Heart rate with a regular stethoscope
VeganEmma's Avatar VeganEmma 11:52 PM 01-28-2011

I think I can safely say that it it near impossible to hear a fetal heart rate with a regular stethoscope. Somebody told me that they could hear a heartbeat at 20 weeks so I have been trying since around that time. Now, I am 8 months and have a big baby in there, but I can not manage to get a heartbeat. The baby is alive and kicking and the stethoscope works on me and my DS, but not on my fetus. Also, I have a feeling my placenta is anterior (in the front) which would make it harder to get a heartbeat, I have tried all over my belly...

 

Can anyone prove me wrong? 



HariB's Avatar HariB 05:17 AM 01-29-2011

I've heard my babies with a regular stethoscope late in pregnancy.  You just have to find exactly where the baby is lying, and place the steth as close to the heart as possible.  You also might have to push it firmly into your belly to get better contact w/baby.  It would probably be hard or impossible if your baby was posterior, though.  Also, baby's heartbeat will often not have that clear thumping that you hear when you listen to your own heart--it's a lot softer, more like you feel it in your eardrums, not so much hear it.  Maybe if you get the room real quiet and then really focus, you'll realize you can hear it after all.  But all stethoscopes are not equal--some are better at picking up sound than others.


VeganEmma's Avatar VeganEmma 10:57 AM 01-29-2011

Thanks for the info. I tried pushing hard and listening in a quiet room , I think the baby may just be posterior or I am not listening hard enough. I am 34 weeks..
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HariB View Post

I've heard my babies with a regular stethoscope late in pregnancy.  You just have to find exactly where the baby is lying, and place the steth as close to the heart as possible.  You also might have to push it firmly into your belly to get better contact w/baby.  It would probably be hard or impossible if your baby was posterior, though.  Also, baby's heartbeat will often not have that clear thumping that you hear when you listen to your own heart--it's a lot softer, more like you feel it in your eardrums, not so much hear it.  Maybe if you get the room real quiet and then really focus, you'll realize you can hear it after all.  But all stethoscopes are not equal--some are better at picking up sound than others.




~~Sarah~~'s Avatar ~~Sarah~~ 05:16 PM 01-29-2011

I just happened to have done this the other day on a friend who is 28 weeks along. It's not easy, and you *really* need to have a good idea of where the baby's back is near the heart. You also have to really listen hard, it's a deep, quiet ticking noise. Even with an educated ear (I trained as a midwife) it is more difficult than with a fetoscope.

Are you sure you have the ear pieces in correctly and the "bell" on the right setting?


VeganEmma's Avatar VeganEmma 06:43 AM 01-30-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ~~Sarah~~ View Post

I just happened to have done this the other day on a friend who is 28 weeks along. It's not easy, and you *really* need to have a good idea of where the baby's back is near the heart. You also have to really listen hard, it's a deep, quiet ticking noise. Even with an educated ear (I trained as a midwife) it is more difficult than with a fetoscope.

Are you sure you have the ear pieces in correctly and the "bell" on the right setting?



No I am not sure at all! The bell has a setting? 


~~Sarah~~'s Avatar ~~Sarah~~ 10:35 AM 01-30-2011

Ok so in that case: firstly, make sure the ear parts are slightly pointing towards your face (and not the back of your head) before you put them in your ears. Then, with the ear parts in, and SUPER gently, touch the front part of the bell and then the back (the diaphragm). Which is louder? It should be a significant difference.

Then: Secure the tubing close to the bell in one hand, and the bell in the other and turn the bell over (pivoting 180 degrees at the connection point). It will click into it's new position. Now try touching both sides again. See? Different settings for different jobs. If you are using the wrong side against the skin, you will never hear a fetal heartbeat (but it may still be sensitive enough to hear your own).

 

I tried using the flat, large part (the diaphragm ie. the back) to listen to my friend's baby and it worked just fine. But you can try listening with both sides to see if one works better for you.

 

let me know if that helps!


VeganEmma's Avatar VeganEmma 06:45 PM 01-30-2011


Thank you so informative! I think I had the ear piece in wrong and I had no idea you could switch the bell! I took your advice and tried listening again and thought  I heard something very very faint. I am going to try again tonight.

 

Tnaks :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~~Sarah~~ View Post

Ok so in that case: firstly, make sure the ear parts are slightly pointing towards your face (and not the back of your head) before you put them in your ears. Then, with the ear parts in, and SUPER gently, touch the front part of the bell and then the back (the diaphragm). Which is louder? It should be a significant difference.

Then: Secure the tubing close to the bell in one hand, and the bell in the other and turn the bell over (pivoting 180 degrees at the connection point). It will click into it's new position. Now try touching both sides again. See? Different settings for different jobs. If you are using the wrong side against the skin, you will never hear a fetal heartbeat (but it may still be sensitive enough to hear your own).

 

I tried using the flat, large part (the diaphragm ie. the back) to listen to my friend's baby and it worked just fine. But you can try listening with both sides to see if one works better for you.

 

let me know if that helps!




mylilmonkeys's Avatar mylilmonkeys 11:52 AM 02-06-2011

It is definitely harder to hear heart tones with an anterior placenta.  I have twins, and can get B's heart beat with a fetoscope easily, but really have to work for A, who likes to hang behind his/her anterior placenta.  Just for fun, I tried using the neonatal stethoscope I have and could hear B just as well as with my fetoscope, but not baby A.  I can't remember how many weeks I was at the time.  It was quite some time back and I'll be 35 weeks tomorrow.  Learning to find FHTs is a process, and the anterior placenta doesn't help.  But placenta and cord sounds are fun to find, too. LOL  


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