How to Check Your Baby’s Heart Beat
Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in your life, filled with fun, hope, and enjoyment. And many pregnant women find that nothing is more exciting than hearing their baby’s heart beat for the first time!
Throughout your pregnancy, your health care practitioner will monitor your baby’s growth and development as well as his heartbeat. Listening to baby’s heartbeat is an important part of your prenatal care, as it can help to inform your practitioner about any possible pregnancy complications. You may also decide to monitor baby’s heart rate for yourself, in the privacy of your own home. But how exactly is baby’s heart rate monitored and how can you find his heartbeat for yourself?
Why Monitor Baby’s Heartbeat?
Fetal heart rate monitoring is one of the most important aspects of prenatal care. Beginning as early as the eighth week of pregnancy, you and your health care provider may be able to detect your baby’s heart rate. By listening regularly to your baby’s heart beat, you and your practitioner can ensure that she is in good health and growing properly.
Many women decide to monitor their baby’s heartbeat at home, in addition to all regular prenatal care visits. Though exciting, pregnancy can also be a nerve wracking time for many mothers, and being able to listen to baby’s heartbeat is often very reassuring. Women who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies (such as those who have preeclampsia or hypertension) may also wish to check their baby’s heart rate at home, in order to help monitor their pregnancies better.
Monitoring Baby’s Heartbeat at Home
At home, you can monitor your baby’s heartbeat using a machine called a fetal doppler. A fetal doppler is a small, handheld device that monitors and displays the number of heart beats your baby experiences every minute. It works by bouncing sound waves off of your baby’s heart. The motion that your baby’s heart makes when it is beating changes the shape of these sound waves. The baby doppler then picks up these changed sound waves and amplifies it, in the form of your baby’s heartbeat.