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Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

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Old 08-25-2008, 08:48 AM   #1
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Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

Ok so please dont freak me out with your answers I am 13 weeks 3 days pregnant now. At 8 weeks 4 days I had my first u/s and we saw the heartbeat just pumping away. It measured at 178 beats. I have my second u/s along with all the fun blood testing/pap smears, etc. tomorrow.

So hear is my big question. what's the difference between hearing the heartbeat and seeing the heart beat. i thought if we saw the heartbea that was a really good thing but i see all these people (not on this board) freaking out about not hearing the heartbeat. I figured it was too early at 8 weeks to hear it but tomorrow for sure i'm sure they'll at least try to hear it.

this might be a dumb question (but bear with me as this is my first child)...why do you need to hear it? I know the obvious answer to WHY you want to hear it but but can there be something wrong if you see the heart beat but dont hear it?

these might be dumb questions and please dont think of me wrong but no one has answered this and at my doctor's office, (apparently the best in the state), they only see you after 8 weeks (they wont see you before) and they only do an ultrasound at 8 weeks to see how far along you are. i havent had any other testing done, no blood work, no pap, nothing until tomorrow when they see you between your 13th and 14th week. i only had about 10 mins to talk to my doctor at my first ultrasound and of course had a million questions for her but now that its been 4 more weeks i have a TON more. i guess more technical questions now.

any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Old 08-25-2008, 08:56 AM   #2
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TryN2BMommy HB User
Re: Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

Don't feel silly, no questions are dumb at all.

The heartbeat can only be seen through an u/s. It can be heard w/ or w/o an u/s through the use of a doppler machine. Most dr's offices will not perform u/s at every appt. Instead they will listen for the heartbeat using the doppler. If the heartbeat is heard & the heart rate is good, & there are no other issues, everything is considered to be progressing well. If the heartbeat can't be found using the doppler, then there is cause for concern because you can't see what's going on in there w/o a u/s. Generally, an u/s appt would then be scheduled & I would assume if the hearbeat was seen or heard (or both) during the u/s, everything would be considered fine again.

I hope this helps. Good luck at your appt!


Old 08-25-2008, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

i got to hear the heartbeat on an u/s at 8 wks. i was told though before i had it done that sometimes a heartbeat cannot be heard that early but since i was underweight it was easier to pick up on me then someone who would have been of average or heavier weight. maybe he didnt try to listen to it because he figured if it couldnt be detected it would just worry you more. if you saw it pumpin though then i would think everything was ok. if something was wrong it probably wouldnt have been moving at all.

Old 08-25-2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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Re: Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

I have had about 6 ultrasounds and i have only heard the heartbeat at one. Usually the reason for this is because WE think of the ultrasound as a way for us to see the baby and see whats going on with our little one BUT the dr.'s want to get you in and out because of other appointments scheduled. Its like they look for what they are doing and they might explain to you whats going on. In some cases you just have to ask them to hear the heartbeat. In my case i asked and the lady lied and said the machine was not equipped for it. But just the month before i was in the same room with her and she let me hear it (Guess she forgot).

However, every prenatal appt. i have, they check my blood pressure and weight first and then check the heart rate of the baby and i get to hear it. For me it wasnt bad that i could see it and not hear it. Its just that hearing it make it feel so real and makes you feel special inside. I saw the heartbeat at 3 ultrasounds and still didnt FEEL pregnant and until i heard it i had that feeling set in that i was pregnant. But i dont think it has anything to do with medical concerns.

Old 08-25-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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Delia79 HB User
Re: Hearing the heartbeat vs. seeing the heartbeat

My doctor doesn't attempt to hear the heartbeat until you are 12 weeks or after, depending on when your appointment falls. During this pregnancy, they could NOT hear my baby's heartbeat at 12 weeks. They took me back and did a quick ultrasound and we saw and heard it and it was perfect. The next appointment, they tried to hear it and couldn't again. They again did another u/s and we saw and heard it and it was great. After that, they have found it with the doppler every time, no problems. So of course, you will worry so I won't tell you not to, but if they can't find it with the doppler right away, don't freak. I am sure they will do an u/s right away to make sure everything is going smoothly. The reason they couldn't find my baby's this time at those two appointments is because she was curled up and not in a good position. After she stretched out a little, they found it just fine. Good luck and I hope you enjoy hearing the heartbeat. It's amazing!
~Ella Ann, July 2, 2007~
~Madilyn Mya, September 21, 2008~

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