How People React to Hearing Baby's Heartbeat

Listening to the baby's heartbeat with a doppler at prenatal care
Photo © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time is very special. I would even argue that it doesn't ever get old. However, as with many things, the first time is even better. Perhaps this is because it is the newness, but for many, it's the first proof they have of the actual baby. It can feel very different than a simple line on a pregnancy test, tangible proof that there really is a baby in there!

These feelings are also true in the second pregnancy. Here's an example of that feeling:

"The pregnancy hadn't really seemed real to me. Sure, I saw the positive pregnancy test and I watched her throw up and complain, but it hadn't sunken in. Hearing the heartbeat made it so real for me, like a light bulb moment."

Typically you will hear the baby's heartbeat at the end of the first trimester using a doppler device in the office. Here are some more of the reactions that people have when hearing a baby's heartbeat:


"We brought my mother-in-law with us. She really wanted to come and hear it. I was not really happy about bringing her, but honestly, watching her face light up in delight was totally worth it. I think it also made her attitude change towards me and the baby."

"My boyfriend hadn't been able to come to our first appointment, but got off for a long lunch to attend this one. He was so excited - he really jumped for joy."

"When my wife let me listen to the heartbeat she'd recorded on her phone, it was so wild. I felt nervous and excited and scared, all at once. It was great."


"It was so fast! I couldn't get over how fast it was going. It really did sound like galloping horses."

"At first I thought something was wrong, everyone talked about how fast it should be.

All I could hear was gurgling and swishing. The nurse told me it was the placenta I heard."

"It seemed to take forever to find it. The longer it took, the more worried I got. When they finally found it I was so relieved. It seemed like 10 minutes though it was probably just a minute. My doctor said that the baby was so small it could swim away easily."


"I had been feeling a bit disconnected. It was our second baby and while we'd wanted to get pregnant, I was second guessing our decision and feeling worried about how we'd manage. Hearing that heartbeat made me fall in love instantly and a sense of calm came over me. I knew we'd struggle with issues, but I was super excited to meet this little one."

As you can see, the feelings are varied. This is true throughout the pregnancy. The anxiety if it's not found right away is real. I very clearly remember the few seconds between when the would start listening and when the sound filled my ears - very tense. The sweet relief of hearing the tiny, but fast swooshing sound was immediate.

Over the years, I've heard many women and their partners talk about this as well. 

Sharing the Sound

If you have not yet recorded your baby's heartbeat, you should consider it. Thankfully most phones can capture a few seconds and make it easily shareable, via email or social media. That's not to say that everyone wants to or should listen to your baby's heartbeat, but it can be really nice to send to relatives, particularly if they aren't able to come to your prenatal visits. 

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