Our midwife got to hear our baby’s heartbeat at 21 weeks with a fetoscope! Take note that this was the first time Rob got to hear it also. I didn’t get to, and you’ll find out in the video below just why not!
WHAT is a fetoscope? A fetoscope, also known as a pinard horn, is a form of stethoscope designed specifically to hear a baby’s heartbeat in the womb. With a fetoscope, you can start hearing the heartbeat of a baby at around 20 weeks or so. Of course, with the doppler you get to hear it a lot sooner (but with some downsides as discussed below).
Fetoscopes comes in two common shapes—one that looks like a stethoscope and one that looks like a horn. What our birthing center has is the stethoscope kind with the two ear pieces. It’s cool seeing the midwife prop it against her forehead and close her eyes as she searches for our little one’s rhythm! So old-fashioned and nifty.
WHY use a fetoscope? It poses no harm to you or the baby in terms of radiation. Studies have shown that the “low frequency” emitted by the doppler is even enough to heat muscle tissue. (We’re concerned with non-ionizing radiation anyway, so this could be double trouble for us.) Since nowadays, ultrasounds and dopplers are being used by conventional doctors and nurses as early as 4-6 weeks into pregnancy, this may pose serious harm to a developing fetus. My first midwife even snuck the doppler on my belly on my first visit without telling me!
You can watch this quick video of my updates for week 21: