When Can You Hear My Baby’s Heartbeat Using a Stethoscope?

When Can You Hear My Baby’s Heartbeat Using a Stethoscope?

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Wouldn’t it be nice to know when you can hear baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope? It is one of the most special and reassuring sounds that expecting parents and their families would like to hear. A thumping would indicate the baby’s heartbeat. It is indeed, one exciting episode during a mother’s pregnancy journey.

Usually, doctors monitor the fetal heartbeat using a Doppler during a pregnant woman’s prenatal care appointment. However, the device is expensive but thanks to a relatively cheap and user-friendly stethoscope, we could all hear the baby’s heartbeat in time, and we could do it at home.


We would regularly see doctors with a stethoscope hanging around their neck. Thus, it became a universal medical symbol. Most of us would have experienced someone listening to our heartbeat or lungs using this device. It helps amplifies all these internal noises, so health experts can determine whether we are sick or needs medical attention.

It can also be used for listening to the unborn babies’ heartbeat. Thus, more and more parents are now purchasing stethoscopes so they can listen to it at home. While there are various brands and types of stethoscopes, you can use whatever suits you and your budget.

You can go for the cheapest or the most expensive device as long as it will allow you to hear what you wanted to hear. What we like about stethoscopes is that you can use it for years.


According to experts, the baby’s heart starts to beat when he or she reaches six weeks old. An early ultrasound exam can help you hear and see it at eight weeks. While a stethoscope will allow you to hear it, most hospitals and health care providers are using a Doppler to detect the heart beat in as early as ten weeks.

Hence, checking the heartbeat of your unborn will become a routine of your monthly prenatal visit. But if you or your doctor is using a stethoscope, you might able to hear it at 20 weeks of development. This method is recommended still, as an efficient way for mommies to monitor their child’s health even if they are weeks apart from their regular visit to the doctor.

Factors that Might Affect the Heartbeat

Don’t fret if you are not hearing the baby’s heartbeat at the first few tries. It doesn’t mean that it is not beating. Certain factors might affect your ability to detect it while using a stethoscope or other similar devices.

The position of your placenta and the baby’s position

How far along is the pregnancy

Mom’s weight and health condition

Others find it difficult to hear and determine whether it is their child’s heartbeat or their own, so we suggest you do the beats-per-minute technique. Although you can buy any model or brand of a stethoscope, the product’s quality can also affect the result.

You can either go for the usual stethoscope or a fetoscope. This process will take time and practice on your part

The Baby’s Heart Development Inside the Womb

It is important to know the child’s development from the time their heart is forming up until the time that you can finally hear its beating with a stethoscope. Such will provide you essential points on how a baby is growing and changing. It will also allow you to have a sound decision whether it is time to buy a stethoscope.

1 – Babies that are six weeks old have a huge bulge near their heart as it is starting to form along with their other organs. Only a vaginal ultrasound will enable you to hear the heartbeat at this time. Aside from that, the baby’s brain is developing rapidly.

2 – The heart will be fully developed at ten weeks old. Their average heart rate is at 180 per minute which is the typical rate for a fetus. The beat will be more noticeable in an ultrasound but not with a stethoscope.

3 – As the heart continues to form, your baby’s facial bones, ears and sex organs continue to develop at 11-12 weeks. At 14 weeks onward, they will become sensitive to lights and sounds and will be growing day by day.

4 – The baby’s 18 weeks above inside the womb becomes an exciting part as you will be finally able to hear the heartbeat using a stethoscope. At the onset, it will be a faint beat, but it will be a solid sound by 20 weeks.

5 – At this period, the baby will be very active and always moving inside you. It is also the time that they will start to develop essential skills like breathing.

We highly recommend you purchase a stethoscope at this point. While the expensive types could give you a more accurate result, buying the cheaper version is fine as long as you can hear the beat with it.

Perhaps, this is your first time to use a stethoscope or use it to determine the baby’s heartbeat, and it is a straightforward process that you can do on your own. All you have to do is to lie down on your back and make sure that you are in a quiet place. Relax your mind and body and separate yourself for a moment from the noises outside the room.

Next, try to find the baby’s back and wait until it is pressed against your womb. The smooth yet hard area that pokes against the skin will be likely the baby’s back. Put the stethoscope now and listen carefully to it. Just take your time and feel it against the skin.

Gently press it against your stomach and hold it still. If you hear a steady and slow beat, that is your heartbeat. The baby’s beat should be rapid or like that of a galloping horse. Move the device and explore your tummy until you can hear a loud thud.

Again, don’t panic if at first, you didn’t hear it. The baby could just have shifted position, or you haven’t just located the back. Recheck it or try later. If after several attempts and you are not still able to find the heart beat, visit the doctor and ask for assistance. They can help you use the device properly.


We understand that listening to your unborn child’s heartbeat is comforting and exciting especially if it is your first time. However, we still encourage you and other parents to consult a doctor or a midwife to understand better the use of a stethoscope so that it will be beneficial for you all throughout the pregnancy.

Make sure that you know the accuracy and safety of using the device and other related tools to avoid causing anxiety than necessary once you fail to hear the baby’s heartbeat.