hearing heartbeat on a stethoscope? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anyone tried this? what's the earliest you've gotten to hear anything? any tips?

i just tried with a regular walgreens cheap stethoscope pressed to my stomach for 10 minutes and nothing. I'm 20w3d. i even felt what i thought was the baby moving around right where the stethoscope was pressed at one point and i didn't even hear THAT.

is it still too early or am i doing it wrong? i thought 18w was when it should work but i guess not.


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#2 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Hi. I'm an RN and have the best stethescope there is...and I was never able to hear the heartbeat with DS...and still not with DC#2 at 20+ weeks...i don't know what to tell you other than i'm very experienced at listening to body sounds and still couldn't get it...i don't think its easy to do. Sorry I can't be of more help!
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#3 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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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.

from Wikipedia:
Quote:
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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stethoscope

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.
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#4 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Yeah, my mom (who is a nurse practitioner) couldn't hear my DS's heartbeat with her stethoscope during my last pregnancy, even when I was 30+ weeks along. I think it's just really tough to do.

DH+Me 1994 heartbeat.gif DS 2004 heartbeat.gif DD 2008 heartbeat.gif DDog 2014
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#5 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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http://www.moondragon.org/images/fhtpositions.jpg offers a picture of the predictable locations of where a person can hear fetal heart tones--this, however, is more useful later on in pregnancy, when baby isn't squirming all over.

Midwifery Today offers some hints on how to hear heart tones:
Quote:
When you are first trying to find the fetal heart during early pregnancy, begin by attempting to hear it just above the pubic bone. The faint sounds seem to be amplified by the proximity of the bone and therefore are frequently more easily heard in this area. Press very firmly; the baby is well cushioned by fluid and you will cause no harm. Listen intently; it may help to close your eyes. Move your fetascope around, little by little, until you can detect the heart beat. You must listen for a regular sound behind any overlaying sounds from the mother's circulation or digestive system....
they also point out this research (so fear not! it gets easier and easier to hear the heartbeat as baby grows):
Quote:
They examined women for FHTs weekly between 15 and 23 weeks' gestation. At 20 weeks, 81% had FHTs detected; at 21 weeks, 95%; and by 22 weeks FHTs were heard in all cases. The mean onset was 19.4 weeks; the range, 17-22 weeks. -Bruninghaus et al, OBGYN April 1987.
http://www.havingababytoday.com/enews/enews0239.asp
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#6 of 17 Old 11-27-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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I can usually get heart tones with a stethascope by 20 weeks - but you have to be right on the babes back and it does take some practice.
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#7 of 17 Old 11-28-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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My midwife has a very expensive stethoscope. She found the heartbeat yesterday, but I couldn't hear it whe she tried to help me. I might buy a fetoscope, but I don't feel worried about the baby at all. I feel movements all the time.

:::
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#8 of 17 Old 11-28-2007, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
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!
ok this was not even on my radar of things i needed...but after that brilliant description i *WANT* one. thanks for all the info!!
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#9 of 17 Old 11-28-2007, 11:13 AM
 
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I have never been able to hear the baby's heartones in any of my pg. : My mw uses a stethescope and a bell. My last mw used a fetoscope and put her forehead to the flat piece while listening.
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#10 of 17 Old 11-28-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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I have a very good stethescope and am pretty experienced in using it but I still could not hear any heartbeat until 30+ weeks, and even then it was only if I got lucky.
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#11 of 17 Old 01-04-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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Okay, I had problems finding the heartbeat until I found out you have to use the BELL of the stethoscope, not the diaphragm, and I don't know if all of them do this, but you have to flip the end over, it clicks, to switch from one to the other, the diaphragm to bell or vice versa. One I figured that out I squeezed and wiggled my belly, and then pressed firmly on the firmest part with the bell, and then, tadaa! that's WAY too fast to be my heartbeat.
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#12 of 17 Old 01-05-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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I am 25 weeks and I have been trying with no luck. I read last night that after the 28th week you can usually hear with a stethoscope.
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#13 of 17 Old 01-05-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Incubator View Post
Okay, I had problems finding the heartbeat until I found out you have to use the BELL of the stethoscope, not the diaphragm, and I don't know if all of them do this, but you have to flip the end over, it clicks, to switch from one to the other, the diaphragm to bell or vice versa. One I figured that out I squeezed and wiggled my belly, and then pressed firmly on the firmest part with the bell, and then, tadaa! that's WAY too fast to be my heartbeat.
:
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#14 of 17 Old 01-06-2008, 02:40 AM
 
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How weird that this would come up today! This morning, for the first time, we heard the heartbeat with a regular stethescope (I am 23 weeks and a few days). But we only heard it for a few minutes, then I guess the baby flipped over or something, and we lost it.
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#15 of 17 Old 01-06-2008, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkDog View Post
How weird that this would come up today!
this actually came up 6 weeks or so ago, and someone else bumped it back up.

i ended up ditching the stethoscope as we were moving and it was well.. crappy.

but i did get a cheapy fetascope but have yet to really sit down and try it because I'm 26w now and baby is very very active and i don't worry so much about her anymore.

but thanks for all the great responses! I'll let you know whether or not i can get it on the fetascope when i finally decide to try it.

"The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes." -Harold B. Lee
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#16 of 17 Old 01-07-2008, 07:31 PM
 
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I continue to have good luck and lots of fun w/ my fetoscope. I try to determine where my baby is in my womb, and then I aim for the middle (like, I feel the head end and the butt end, and aim for somewhere in between.)

Wanted to add this to the conversation: our babes are SUPER squirmy and active right now; there is an element of luck to finding the heartbeat at this point. Later, when our babies are bigger and have less wiggle room, finding the heartbeat is a lot easier.

Also....your partner/friend can press their EAR to your belly to hear the heartbeat (we mamas need the fetoscope/stethoscope to hear it.)
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#17 of 17 Old 02-10-2008, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
Wow that online store has got so many cool things, but Yikes! they don't have Thailand in the list of countries to ship to

I would not have any idea how to get any of these items locally.
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