Pregnancy: When will you hear your baby-to-be's heartbeat?

I am 10 weeks pregnant. I spotted for four days at about five weeks and again at six weeks. The spotting has stopped and my hCG levels are good. However, when we couldn't hear the baby's heartbeat at nine weeks he asked me to come back in two weeks. I'm really scared. When is it normal to hear the baby's heartbeat?

Question:
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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The audibility of a fetal heart with an office doppler depends upon the baby's location, the location of the placenta, your body-fat composition, the position of the uterus and the skill and patience of the provider.

With all of these variables, it wouldn't be unusual not to hear heart tones at nine weeks.

Sometimes, a practitioner can enhance the audibility of fetal heart tones by lifting the uterus up toward the abdomen while listening. This will help if the uterus is retroverted (flipped toward your back).

With your history, I recommend a follow-up in one week instead of two. Call your practitioner and ask if you can get an ultrasound or quick listen with a doppler right away.

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