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How soon can I hear my baby's heartbeat in pregnancy?

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Updated July 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Expectant couple listening to baby's heartbeat, elevated view.
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Question: How soon can I hear my baby's heartbeat in pregnancy?
Answer: You can typically hear your baby's first heart beat with a Doppler stethoscope between 9 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. There are some women who will hear it slightly earlier and some who will hear it slightly later. This delay can be due to mom's anatomy, miscalculated due dates and other non-problematic things. It can also be due to a problem with the pregnancy, like an impending miscarriage. Be sure to ask your practitioner about what a normal fetal heart rate would be for that stage of pregnancy.

If your doctor or midwife does not hear the heart beat when they would expect to hear it, they have several options, including:

Be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor about your preferences and concerns.

Source:

Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

The Official Lamaze Guide. Lothian, J and DeVries, C. Meadowbrook; 1 edition.

Readers Respond: The First Time You Heard Your Baby

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