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How to hear the fetal heartbeat at home: ways in which week you can, reviews


The main reasons for the psycho-emotional lability of women of childbearing age include cyclical fluctuations in hormonal levels. The onset of pregnancy is becoming one of the tests in terms of endocrine changes.

New sensations bring increased concern to the life of the expectant mother. To reduce anxiety, many women are trying to find objective evidence that the baby is feeling normal.

One of the criteria for assessing the condition of the child is to determine his heart rate. How can you independently hear the fetal heartbeat at home?

Obstetric approach

Feel the heart tones of the future baby is possible only with the help of additional tools.

Attempts to determine heart rate by relatives by directly applying the ear to the pregnant belly will be futile.

Listened sound phenomena in such a case are often associated with maternal blood flow, intestinal motility or fetal movement.

Gynecologists evaluate the heart tones of the unborn baby, starting from the second half of pregnancy.

For this simple procedure, a special obstetric stethoscope is used.

A pregnant woman undergoes an external examination, determines the position of the fetus and then resort to an indirect study of his heartbeat.

Since the obstetric stethoscope is a wooden tube, it is physically impossible for the expectant mother to independently listen to the baby’s heart with this device.

But the essence of the method can be applied using a conventional phonendoscope.

In order to listen to the fetal heartbeat, you need to lie comfortably on the bed (sofa) and install the membrane or funnel of the stethophonendoscope at the point of best conduct of the child’s heart tones.

Determining the place of listening

Before conducting an independent auscultation, you need to determine how the baby is located relative to the midline of his mother’s abdomen.

Palms smoothly, gently, but with a certain degree of pressure, evaluate which part is above the bosom. The hands close in the area of ​​the tips of the middle fingers, the palmar surface of the hands while facing the pregnant woman's face, the back - to the legs.

In this position, the phalanges are slightly immersed, probing what is below the abdomen (head or pelvis, legs of the fetus). Then continue palpation, moving up.

The convex dense part corresponds to the back. In this area, it is necessary to install a phonendoscope membrane.

The nature of the heart tones of the fetus

The heart of a small actively growing organism is reduced two times more often than the mother, the heart rate is 140–160 per minute.

The clarity and distinctness of heart tones depends on the condition of the fetus, its position and the fat layer on the mother’s stomach. The heart rate also reflects the activity of the baby.

But deviations from the norm parameters in any direction may indicate an oxygen deficiency (hypoxia).

It is worth noting that it is necessary to inform the observing obstetrician-gynecologist about the detection of alarming changes in the fetal heartbeat at home.

One way or another, only a doctor can objectively evaluate and check with the help of additional methods the condition of the unborn child.

Fetal Doppler

It is rather difficult for a pregnant woman to conduct auscultation on her own. In addition, it is almost impossible to interpret the sounds heard confidently and correctly without the existing skills.

To solve the question of how else you can hear the fetal heartbeat at home, mobile fetal dopplers have been developed.

With this device, you can easily determine the baby’s heart rate starting at 12 weeks. The operation of the device is based on the physics of ultrasound.

There are simple models that only allow you to listen to heart sounds, there are dopplers that calculate heart rate. An auxiliary device can be purchased at a pharmacy or medical equipment store.

It is believed that ultrasonic waves are not related to teratogens. However, absolute evidence of the safety of ultrasound has not yet been collected. Doctors recommend limiting the use of fetal dopplers in frequency and duration (no more than 10 minutes).

Often, the fetus shows a negative attitude towards such a study of the heartbeat and tries to hide from the sensor.

You do not need to persistently achieve your goal, just postpone the attempt to listen to heart activity for another time.

When self-observation is needed

Constant listening to the baby's heartbeat can increase anxiety, so you need to resort to independent auscultation only on the recommendation of a doctor or with an existing pregnancy pathology.

The presence of anemia in the future parent, chronic diseases, the threat of interruption may become an occasion to monitor the condition of the fetus at home in order to promptly seek medical help when necessary.

Why is it important to listen to the heart?

To begin with, let’s determine: why do you need to regularly listen to the baby’s heart, is it necessary? What does it matter? There are several reasons why this is simply necessary:

  1. Confirmation of pregnancy. What time can you hear the fetal heartbeat for the first time? This can be done at a period of 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, just when the expectant mother first goes for an ultrasound scan. Just at this stage of development, the heart is formed and begins to actively pound. If there is no knock, this indicates the absence of a fetal egg, and hence pregnancy. Also, silence indicates a frozen pregnancy, when the fetus stops in development and dies.
  2. Assessment of the health and condition of the child. Throughout pregnancy, starting with the first study, the baby’s heart is regularly heard. If the work of the heart is characterized by high rates constantly, even at rest, this indicates placental insufficiency. The reverse situation indicates a deterioration in the condition of the child and gradual death.
  3. Child development and diagnosis of parameters during labor. During delivery, you must constantly listen to the baby's heartbeat, because in the process there is a lack of oxygen and strong pressure on the fetus. The heart and blood vessels throughout the body experience a lot of stress, so it is so important to listen to the heartbeat in order to prevent child hypoxia.

Heartbeat Listening Methods

  • Ultrasound, of course, will be in the first place, with the help of which a visual assessment of the embryo and the fetus, as well as the state of the placenta, is performed. Particularly studied in detail the tone and heart rate of the ovum. With the help of ultrasound, various infectious diseases, heart defects, as well as other deviations in the development of the baby's organs, are predicted.
  • Cardiotocography, which is briefly called CTG. The second most effective method after ultrasound. With it, the activity of the fetus, the work of the heart, both at rest and during periods of mobility, are recorded. It should be noted that the first procedure is done for a period of 32 or more weeks. During this period, the phases of rest and activity of the child are formed, in which the work of the heart is easily heard.
  • Echocardiography, like the previous study, focuses specifically on the heart, and not on the general condition of the child. Such an examination is done in the period from the 18th to the 32nd week of pregnancy with special indications, for example, heart disease, infections in the uterus, pregnancy after 38 years, and developmental delay.
  • Auscultation. Can a fetal heart be heard with a stethoscope? Definitely yes, this procedure is called "auscultation." It is used not in an ordinary device, but in an obstetric one, which is more accurate and sensitive. With the help of the procedure, the position of the child and the rhythm, the frequency of the heartbeat are revealed.

All these methods can be implemented only in equipped rooms, all require consultation and assistance of specialists. Future mothers are interested in the question: how to hear the fetal heartbeat at home? It is intimate and something very close that connects mom (dad) and the child. Therefore, many future parents want to hear their baby, not only in the presence of a doctor.

Fetal Doppler

How to hear the fetal heartbeat at home? We put in the first place precisely the doppler, which is the most common device. It can be used from the 12th week of pregnancy, purchased at a pharmacy. There are completely different models - from simple to advanced. The first option involves listening to the heartbeat using headphones in which you can hear the number of beats. The device consists of:

  • from the display, which in the new models is color, in simple copies it does not exist at all,
  • a speaker that conducts sound and processes it, bringing it to the hearing of the parents,
  • battery, which allows the device to work up to 15 hours.

The device allows you to hear the fetal heartbeat at home quickly and clearly, but many are wondering about its effect on the child. There is no reason to worry, so you can safely use the device without worrying that it will harm. The difficulty lies in the fact that the child can feel the operation of the device and change the location, which will change the indicators and affect the result.


Surely every family had such a device at home, many still had it from their grandmothers, because before they listened to the pulse when measuring pressure, when the devices were still mechanical. As time goes on, technology changes and the question arises: is it possible to hear the fetal heartbeat using a phonendoscope? Of course you can, it is an analogue of an obstetric stethoscope, which, incidentally, can also be purchased at a pharmacy. Both devices are simple to use, you just need to attach them to the surface of the abdomen. The difficulty lies in the fact that in addition to the work of the heart of the child, there are other sounds - contraction of the uterus, the work of the intestines or the work of the heart of the mother. It is very difficult to count the number and rhythm of contractions; you need help and qualifications, which are often not available.

Using the method manually

The most common question of future parents is the following: is it possible to hear the fetal heartbeat with the ear? You can, but talk about specific indicators, the accuracy of the results is completely impossible. If the expectant mother is overweight, then the heartbeat will probably not be heard. Also, the difficulty is that you need to listen at a certain point, it cannot be defined in general, it is individual, it depends on the location of the child:

  • If the child lies upside down, then you need to listen below the navel.
  • If the location of the child is at the level of the pelvis, then listening occurs above the navel.
  • If the pregnancy is multiple, then the knock can be heard at different points.

What to do if the heartbeat is not heard?

Do not worry ahead of time. We determined how to hear the fetal heartbeat at home, but recall that all methods are inaccurate. Therefore, the work of the heart of the child may not be heard. There are several reasons for this phenomenon:

  • excess weight of the mother, in which the fat layer interferes with hearing and creates interference,
  • the baby’s shell is attached to the back of the uterus, while listening through the abdomen becomes worse,
  • the child’s activity and constant change of location also affect hearing.

When is the rhythm worth counting?

There are cases when you need to constantly monitor the work of the heart of a child. In such situations, you need to listen daily:

  1. Disease of the mother, which leads to oxygen starvation of the child.
  2. The increased tone of the uterus squeezes the placenta and disrupts blood circulation, as a result of which the fetus receives few nutrients and oxygen.
  3. Spotting and the presence of menstruation during pregnancy at any time. Allocations may indicate placental abruption, therefore, the dynamics of the heartbeat is monitored daily.
  4. Anemia of the future mother, in which the hemoglobin level is low, so the fetus needs more useful elements.

Reviews of future parents

As the reviews of couples who expect a baby show, most try to listen to the work of the heart on their own. In most cases, a conventional phonendoscope is used, which has remained from grandparents.

The main thing is to constantly try and not despair, if you don’t hear the baby, it’s not at all scary, it takes time.


We answered the question of how to hear the fetal heartbeat at home, as well as what modern medicine is used to reflect the dynamics of the baby’s heart. If a mother wants to listen to the work of her child’s heart out of curiosity, you can use hand-held tools or a phonendoscope. If it is prescribed by a doctor and you need to monitor the rhythm, it is better to use Doppler. Be healthy, may the joy of motherhood be even stronger when you hear your baby's heartbeat!

Measurement technique, apparatus and instruments

The heart of the embryo is formed on the 17-20 day of intrauterine development from two mesenchymal bookmarks, which then turn into a tube. In the fourth week, an interatrial septum appears. By the eighth to ninth, the fetal heart is anatomically already with four cameras.

Depending on the duration of pregnancy, listen to the fetal heartbeat by such methods:

  • auscultation with a stethoscope, phonendoscope,
  • ultrasonography,
  • cardiotocography,
  • echocardiography.

The first heart contractions are counted already at the sixth week of pregnancy using an ultrasound machine. Initially, they are about 110-130 beats per minute, but by the end of the first trimester they increase to 170-190. From 12 weeks to the birth, the fetal heart rate is normal 120-160.

Echocardiography - an optional study, appoints an obstetrician-gynecologist for certain indications. Using this modern and accurate method, blood circulation in the heart and blood vessels is studied. The optimal duration is from 19 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Cardiotocography - A common method for assessing the condition of the fetus. Today, CTG is the leading study of the nature of the cardiac activity of the unborn baby. Based on the analysis of changes in the heart rate of a child at rest and during active movements. Diagnosed in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Auscultation of fetal heart sounds - with the help of an obstetric stethoscope, which is applied to the pregnant woman’s stomach with a wide part to the left or right, above or below the navel, depending on the position, type and position of the fetus. Heart sounds are heard from a 20-week period.

Home control

There are situations when the fetal heart rate is controlled every day at home. After all, mother is worried about the condition of the baby, it is important for her to know that his heart beats and develops.

Listen to the fetal heartbeat at home in several ways. The simplest is putting an ear on your stomach. The heartbeat of a child with this method of diagnosis is heard only after 30 weeks of pregnancy. This method is ineffective, because it depends on the fatty tissue of a woman whose thickness distorts the conduction of the sound of a beating heart.

More reliable is the calculation of fetal heart rate using an obstetric stethoscope, which is applied to the pregnant woman’s abdomen with a wide part. However, this requires daily training and a patient assistant. In addition to knowledge about the points of auscultation, it is necessary to distinguish between extraneous noise (pulse of a future woman in labor, intestinal motility). Having correctly applied the diaphragm of the device to the anterior abdominal wall of a woman, with the help of a phonendoscope they hear the typical sound of the fetal heartbeat.

Today, the expectant mother estimates the work of the baby’s heart, without leaving home, with a minimum error. To this end, they acquire a device for listening to the fetal heartbeat at home - fetal doppler. The work is based on the use of ultrasound, the level of which is eight times lower than when performing ultrasound. Therefore, its use is considered safe for the child. They sell such a device for listening to a heartbeat in a pharmacy or in a medical equipment store.

The advantages of such a device:

  • convenience and ease of use,
  • the opportunity for a quick time to independently evaluate the fetal heart rate,
  • use since 12 weeks.

Among the disadvantages are:

  • limited application time
  • high price.

What to do in case of deviations from the norm

When using the device to listen to the fetal heart beat at home, it is necessary to correctly interpret the results obtained in order to react and take action in time if problems arise.

The characteristics of the fetal heart rate include frequency, rhythm, filling and tension. Tachycardia is considered to be an increase in heart rate over 170 beats per minute, bradycardia - a decrease in heart rate below 110. Normally, the baby's heart sounds are clear and rhythmic.

Changes in these indicators arise due to many reasons: from the banal stuffy room in which a pregnant woman is located, to fetal hypoxia. Therefore, if there are deviations in the pulse of the child, they must seek help from a doctor for a scheduled consultation. Only he will find out the cause of this condition and help maintain the health of the baby. Для этого будущая роженица проходит дополнительные исследования (холтер и ЭХО-КГ (суточное мониторирование ЭКГ)).

Moms know that the baby’s normal heartbeat is the main indicator of a successful pregnancy. Monitoring the work of the fetal heart should be constant and high-quality in order to avoid erroneous conclusions and further stress. Therefore, for nine months they pay maximum attention to such parameters, and for any deviations, they turn to the doctor.

The following sources of information were used to prepare the material.

How to work with the device

In the early stages, it is very difficult at home to check the fetal heartbeat. You need to start listening to it from the 12th week. During this period, the sensor is placed in the lower abdomen, directly at the pubic bone. As the fetus grows, the listening position will shift toward the navel.

The heartbeat should be sonorous, the heart rate is twice as often as that of the mother - up to 160 beats per minute. Heart rate may vary during the day and depending on the activity of the fetus.

If the heartbeat is not heard

There are times when the mother does not hear the heartbeat of the fetus. There was no need to panic before. There may be several reasons:

  • completeness - in the presence of a fatty layer listening is difficult,
  • the chorion is attached to the back wall (if it is located on the front, listening to the heartbeat is much easier),
  • the fetus changes its location, therefore it is difficult to find a heartbeat even in the absence of excess weight.

Obstetric stethoscope or phonendoscope

On the one hand, this method is available to everyone: you can buy this tube in any pharmacy for little money. On the other hand, counting heartbeats with this tool at home is not easy. To do this, you need an assistant, since one can not cope. At the same time, he must possess skills that he most often does not have. Moreover, you need to listen to tones at certain points. Extraneous noise (maternal heartbeat, contraction of the muscles of the intestinal wall and other sounds), which must be learned to distinguish from the fetal heartbeat, will interfere with the correct calculation of the number of strokes.

Ear to stomach

This is the easiest and most affordable, but also the most inefficient way. Difficulties are possible if a woman is overweight. You need to listen at a certain point, which depends on how the fetus is located in the uterus:

  • beating below the navel, if the fetus lies head down,
  • the heart is audible above the navel if the presentation is pelvic,
  • if the pregnancy is multiple, the heartbeat of each fetus is heard in different places.

When you need to count fetal heart rate at home

There are situations when you need to daily monitor the contractions of the heart of the unborn child.

  1. With bloody discharge at any period of gestation. The most common cause of this phenomenon is placental abruption. Strict monitoring of the fetus during pregnancy is usually necessary.
  2. The uterus has an increased tone. In this situation, the vessels of the placenta are squeezed, and this can lead to impaired blood circulation in it, while the fetus does not receive enough oxygen and nutrition.
  3. With the threat of abortion, you need to constantly monitor the fetal heartbeat at home in order to seek medical help on time.
  4. With anemia in a pregnant woman. In this case, the mother usually has lowered hemoglobin, which means that the fetus does not receive in the right amount of nutrients that are carried by the blood.
  5. With an illness of the expectant mother, which can cause a deficiency of oxygen and nutrients.