Listening to your baby's heartbeat is a great way to bond with her and help assure you of your baby's safety. Parents can listen to their baby's heartbeat at a doctor's office or at home. This is done using an ultrasound at the doctor's office, or a fetal Doppler system both in the doctor's office and at home. You can purchase your own Doppler system, or some places will allow you to rent the equipment during your pregnancy.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Ultrasound gel
- FDA-approved fetal Doppler system
- Quiet room
Drink water to fill up your bladder. Drink enough to where you feel like you need to use the rest room, but not enough to make you feel sick to your stomach. Do not urinate until you are finished listening to your baby's heartbeat.
Sit or lie down in a quiet room. Other sounds, even quiet ones, can disturb the Doppler system's output and make it difficult to hear your baby's heartbeat.
Apply ultrasound gel to your abdomen and to the Doppler probe. This will help transmit sound waves and make your baby's heartbeat clearer. Apply more gel if you need to or if static becomes a problem when listening to the heartbeat.
Slide the Doppler probe over your abdomen, moving slowly from left to right. Most often, your baby's heartbeat will be between your belly button and your pubic bone, but you might find your baby's heartbeat in various places depending upon the baby's position.
Record your baby's heart rate. Some Doppler systems will have a readout on the screen. If your monitor does not have a readout, you can count the number of beats for 60 seconds or count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply by six.
Tips and warnings
- The older your baby is, the easier it will be to hear her heartbeat. The most common time to be able to hear it is after your 12th week of pregnancy.
- Your baby might be turned in a position that makes it hard to hear his heartbeat, but don't panic if you cannot hear your it. Try again after a few minutes. If you are concerned, contact your health-care provider.
- Do not listen to your baby's heartbeat too frequently. Medical professionals such as Dr. Ben Kim suggest limiting the amount of ultrasound exposure, as there are some possible negative side effects, such as preterm labour or miscarriage.
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