Finding the baby's position by listening to the heartbeat

Baby's upper chest and upper back, where the heartbeat is loudest

Figure 11.11 The baby's heartbeat is loudest in its upper chest or upper back, depending on which way the baby is facing.

Think about which way the baby seems to be lying. Then start listening for the heartbeat near the spot where you think the baby's heart should be. You may need to listen in many places on the mother's abdomen before you find the spot where the heartbeat is the most loud and clear (Figure 11.11).

Is the heartbeat loudest above or below the mother's bellybutton? If you hear the heartbeat loudest below the mother's bellybutton, the baby is probably head down (Figure 11.12a). If you hear the heartbeat loudest above the mother's bellybutton, the baby may be in the breech position (Figure 11.12b).



Figure 11.12 (a) If the fetal heartbeat is loudest below the mother's bellybutton, the baby is probably in the vertex position. (b) If it is loudest above her bellybutton, the baby may be breech.

Sometimes when the baby is facing the mother's front, the heartbeat is harder to find because the baby's arms and legs get in the way. Listen near the mother's sides, or directly in the middle of her abdomen, to hear the fetal heartbeat.

Last modified: Thursday, 9 October 2014, 7:33 AM