What is a Prenatal Listening System?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2018
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A prenatal listening system is a product sold in stores that allows the user to hear the unborn baby's heartbeat. It can also pick up the sounds of kicks and hiccups, and even usually offers the ability to record these sounds onto a computer. This product typically includes a sensor that is placed against the pregnant belly, a belt to keep it in place, and two sets of headphones. It is not considered invasive, but should also not be a replacement for medical treatment during pregnancy.

The point of a prenatal listening system is to allow pregnant women and her loved ones to hear what is happening inside the uterus. Many women are able to hear their baby's heartbeat at doctor appointments, either through an ultrasound or a prenatal Doppler, but they may become anxious between appointments. This kind of product may reassure them that their baby still has a strong heartbeat, and may keep them from worrying while waiting to see their doctor to make sure that the baby is still doing fine. Even mothers-to-be who are not particularly anxious about their baby's wellbeing may want to hear the heartbeat, hiccups, and kicks, or let family members listen in.


Though the typical Doppler or ultrasound machine at the doctor's office can usually pick up on a heartbeat around week six of pregnancy, a prenatal listening system can typically only be used after about 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is because it is not considered as advanced as most medical-grade listening devices. On the other hand, it is also not as invasive or expensive as frequent ultrasounds can be, as there are no long-term effects on the fetus or mother when this system is used. Thus, it is safe for unlimited use, and is usually only harmful when used in place of medical care during pregnancy.

There are a few different manufacturers of the prenatal listening system, but most include the same accessories. They tend to come with one sensor that is placed on the stomach, with a positioning belt to keep it in place. The majority also feature two headsets so that the mother and a loved one can share the experience by listening at the same time. Many of the at home prenatal listening system units on the market also include a way to record the sounds of the uterus onto a computer so that they can become a keepsake, and even be emailed to relatives.



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