How to Use a Fetal Stethoscope

Written by christine lehman
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Using a fetal stethoscope you can hear a baby's heartbeat starting at approximately 20 weeks into the pregnancy. A fetal stethoscope is much like a regular stethoscope except its shape is more concave, making it more sensitive. Hearing your baby's heartbeat can be comforting, but a fetal stethoscope may not be able to pick up a heartbeat all the time so they should be used with caution.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fetal stethoscope

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  1. 1

    Find a quiet place.

  2. 2

    Attempt to find the baby's back by moving your hands around your abdomen. The back will feel firm and should be easily distinguished from the baby's appendages.

  3. 3

    Put the stethoscope ear pieces in your ears.

  4. 4

    Place the bell of the stethoscope on your baby's back and listen for a heartbeat.

  5. 5

    Move the bell until you detect a heartbeat.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you begin to feel your baby move, you should use movements as an indicator of how your baby is doing rather than its heart rate.
  • Do not be concerned if you do not hear your baby's heartbeat using a fetal stethoscope. If your baby is not in a good position, if you are overweight, or if your placenta is fixed at the front of your uterus you may simply have too much tissue between your baby and the stethoscope.

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