1. Many physicians now have ultrasound scanners in their offices. With these machines, it is usually possible to see the baby’s heart beating at 6 to 8 weeks. Most ultrasound scanners have amplifiers, so you can hear as well as see the heartbeat by this early date. If your doctor or midwife doesn’t have an ultrasound scanner, he or she will listen with a Doppler, a small, ultrasonic device that amplifies the sound of the baby’s heartbeat. With a Doppler, it’s sometimes possible to hear the baby’s heartbeat at 6 to 8 weeks, but it’s much easier to do so at 11 or 12 weeks.

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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.