Fetoscope: A Tool of the Midwifery Trade



All of our clients have a seen a fetoscope at least a handful of times throughout their prenatal care with us.  A fetoscope, or a fetal stethoscope, works much like a regular stethoscope except that it has a bell shaped end that magnifies sound waves from the fetal heart beat in order to make them audible.  You can usually hear a fetal heartbeat with the stethoscope starting around 20 weeks of pregnancy.

We use a fetoscope as soon as we are able to in order listen to fetal heart tones during prenatal appointments in place of using a doppler.  As midwives, we are well trained in the use of this tool as a method for listening to fetal heart tones.  It's a tool that is unique to midwifery care and is kept alive by midwives because it is inherently risk free, encourages human connection and careful assessment, and is low cost.

Why else do we use the fetoscope? 

  • The fetoscope helps us to determine or confirm fetal positioning.  The fetal heartbeat will be the loudest with the fetoscope when you are directly over the fetal heart.  

  • To decrease prolonged, unnecessary ultrasound use in pregnancy.

  • To increase connection for our clients with their baby during prenatal appointments by showing them how to listen to the heartbeat of their baby on their own.

The use of the fetoscope in prenatal care is an age-old skill that is kept alive by midwives and that comes without any risk to mom or baby.  We're honored to know how to use it well and to get to teach our clients how to use it too.

Your Truly,

Charli & Sarah