Doctor won't listen for heartbeat until 10-12 weeks — The Bump
March 2016 Moms

Doctor won't listen for heartbeat until 10-12 weeks

I have my first appointment on Friday just to confirm pregnancy / medical history. I will be 7 weeks on friday. I called to see when first u/s or heartbeat check would be and they say between 10-12 weeks. That seems forever to even know if the pregnancy is progressing. I see everyone else having ultrasounds and heartbeats at 6 and 7 weeks. Anyone else have to wait this long? I do handle the anxiety of not worrying about a blighted ovum or that a baby even began developing?

Re: Doctor won't listen for heartbeat until 10-12 weeks

  • I just had my first appointment yesterday and I am 5 weeks and 5 days.  They didn't listen to the heartbeat and my next appointment is August 4th.  So I'll be 9 weeks for my next appointment and they said they will listen to the heartbeat then.  3 more weeks of waiting... I'm with ya!  :)
  • emjeveemjeve
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    With DD I had an 8 week appointment where they tried to hear the heartbeat but warned us that we probably wouldn't be able to hear it yet and they were right- we couldn't hear it. So we had to wait until our 12 week visit. We didn't have any ultrasounds until 20 weeks so they were only using a Doppler- maybe that's what your doctor will use and maybe it's more sensitive? Not sure...


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  • jy725jy725
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    Hmm, that seems like a long time to me. If you have flexibility with choices regarding your insurance, I would recommend calling around to see if other practices are taking new patients and what their policies are/what appts. are like.
  • I know it's frustrating, but this is very common. Every office does things differently. My office typically schedules u/s between 8 and 10 weeks, other ladies are being seen at 6 weeks, and yet others like you are waiting until 10-12 weeks.

    My guess is that your history doesn't warrant a special early u/s (ex. history of loss, diagnosed medical condition) so your OB is going with statistics and waiting until 10-12 weeks because there are no red flags that warrant early investigation.

    Try participating in the daily checkin threads to help you pass the time. :)
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  • My practice will do a scan between 6 and 8 weeks but you don't get to hear the heartbeat then. I don't remember exactly when but sometime between 10 and 12 weeks my ob tried for the first time with DS but warned me there was a chance she wouldn't find it.
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  • Hi @danielleg1992,

    This is pretty normal. Even with a history of loss at 15 weeks, my first appointment is at 10 weeks. The fact is, unless you have a history of early MCs and they want to monitor your progesterone and hcg levels, there is little doctors can learn from an early appointment or do to intervene so early in the pregnancy. 

    I'm at 6 weeks now and I can't believe I have to wait another month! I totally get it. But this is very normal, especially if you are young and healthy and have no history of MCs. 
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  • I won't be having my first ultrasound until 10w4d. This is very common. Just think how much more you'll be able to see compared to a sonogram at 6w.
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  • I had a strong one at 6+5 but I paid for a private scan bc I couldn't mentally wait till 14 weeks which was my first appt bc of travelling.  The baby also measured 0.7cm then which is on the larger end of the scales so that may change what you can detect.


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  • Thanks everyone!Your responses really helped. The wait is just so agonizing!
  • The only reason i was scheduled for an U/S next week at 6 weeks is due to a previous MC. With my 1st pregnancy they used a Doppler at 12weeks and only received one U/S at 18w. 
  • I don't get my first ultrasound/ heartbeat check until 19 weeks?!? Isn't that late?! I'm really upset about this everyone I know has the cute 12 week ultrasound pic
  • I will have an appointment with a nurse practitioner at 10 weeks where they will try and heat a heartbeat using a doppler (I have a tiled uterus so we couldn't hear anything when I was pregnant with my son). After that appointment I get to schedule my first ultrasound. I won't actually see my doctor until 14 weeks. It is not uncommon to have to wait.
  • With ds we had our first Doppler at 11 weeks but they couldn't find a heartbeat so we had an ultrasound at that point. This time around she asked to see us at 8 weeks so not sure what we will get at that point but I am hoping she will do some sort of check for viability.
  • @danielleg1992 My doc put an appointment for week 5 (7w from lmp) to check the embryo and hear the heartbeat, but we use vaginal ultrasound that's why other way you need to wait more..
  • mmk29mmk29
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    It's actually really common for heartbeat checks not to start until 10-12 weeks. Dopplers may not be able to pick up the heartbeat until that point, and doctors do not want to stress a patient out if they can't find a heartbeat at an earlier appointment.
    Most pregnancies also do not require an ultrasound until 18-20 weeks for the anatomy scan. Women that have earlier ones scheduled typically are being followed for a high risk reason, or have elected for the first trimester screen around 12 weeks.
    I know the wait is hard, I personally think the first trimester waiting game is way worse than the discomforts of the third trimester. Good luck with everything, hopefully time passes quickly!
    mommytobe2122emjeveashcav
  • I originally would have only had the 20 week anatomy scan, but I was having some pain, so they scheduled one for last week. SInce we could not see much since it was so early, I go back next week for another. Otherwise, I would be waiting, too.


  • I am going in for blood work in 2 weeks and I will be 6 weeks pregnant.  My doctor also doesn't do any heartbeat until 10-12 weeks. I am sure because they can guarantee a heartbeat.  After my 6 week I will probably have another appointment at 10 weeks in late August and get to hear the heartbeat then. 
    mommytobe2122
  • Ok so my doctors office cancelled my appt that day and i am being seen by the nurse for the very first time at almost 10 weeks and they are now saying they will not listen for heartbeat until 12 or 13 weeks..... this seems crazy that they arent even comfirming my pregnancy until nearly 10 weeks and they do no viability scan.
  • I'm sorry. That would be super tough for me too. Seems like they could just do a quick vaginal ultrasound to at least confirm everything is ok. Honestly I would probably change doctors just based on that because I would go crazy waiting! 


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  • I'm sorry. That would be super tough for me too. Seems like they could just do a quick vaginal ultrasound to at least confirm everything is ok. Honestly I would probably change doctors just based on that because I would go crazy waiting! 

    Not every office has an ultrasound machine in the exam room. I have to go to schedule an appointment with the radiology department for mine.
  • MrsJP20082015MrsJP20082015
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    edited July 2015
    I went to the doctor this past Tuesday (7 weeks) They told me they would try to listen to the heart beat when i scheduled the appointment so I brought DH. They Didn't even attempt at all. all they did was make me pee in a cup & told me congratulations. Like thanks I already knew I was pregnant by peeing In a cup. Then they did a pap & history that was it. They did no blood work or anything & didn't schedule me until I am almost 12 weeks. I wasn't very happy with the office so right after I left I scheduled an appointment with a different doctor & will be getting seen at 9 weeks to see the baby & get blood work. Makes me feel soooo much better than waiting 5 weeks to see if a pregnancy is progressing seems unsurd when I have plenty of friends who have seen their babies already at 7 weeks
    lashachrismaxineb7
  • I don't know everyone's loss history on this thread but tbh, if you don't have a history of complications, it doesn't seem that crazy to me that a lot of doctors are waiting for first scans.

    "American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, calls for one or two ultrasounds in low-risk, complication-free pregnancies."

    So that's one or two scans throughout the entire pregnancy, including the anatomy scan around week 20. I'd assume it's common practice to do another closer to delivery to see that the baby is positioned where it's supposed to be, but idk because this is my first.

    Full Article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/pregnant-women-get-more-ultrasounds-without-clear-medical-need-1437141219?mod=e2fb
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  • aeh8810 said:
    I'm sorry. That would be super tough for me too. Seems like they could just do a quick vaginal ultrasound to at least confirm everything is ok. Honestly I would probably change doctors just based on that because I would go crazy waiting! 
    Not every office has an ultrasound machine in the exam room. I have to go to schedule an appointment with the radiology department for mine.

    Do you go to a larger practice? I never thought about a doctors office not having an ultrasound machine and having to schedule it with another office/department. I guess that is one of the perks of going to a smaller practice. 



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  • My doctor's office has a standard policy of doing an ultrasound at 8 weeks to determine viability and to catch and possible ectopic pregnancies. I am unsure whether or not they will attempt to listen for a heart beat. When I made my appointment the office said around 8 weeks I will have an ultrasound, and assuming everything is ok, I will see the doctor around 12 weeks.


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  • My first u/s isn't until I'm 10 weeks. I then meet with the dr a week after that. It does seem really late to me, but idk. I'm sure all Dr's are different.
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  • I just had my first prenatal visit a few days ago at 7weeks 4 days. She said "I don't think I"ll have a snowball's chance in hell of hearing a heartbeat today" I was fine with waiting - at first I felt disappointed but then I realized that if she tried, and didn't hear it, I'd be worried, and probably for no reason!

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  • aeh8810 said:

    I'm sorry. That would be super tough for me too. Seems like they could just do a quick vaginal ultrasound to at least confirm everything is ok. Honestly I would probably change doctors just based on that because I would go crazy waiting! 

    Not every office has an ultrasound machine in the exam room. I have to go to schedule an appointment with the radiology department for mine.

    Do you go to a larger practice? I never thought about a doctors office not having an ultrasound machine and having to schedule it with another office/department. I guess that is one of the perks of going to a smaller practice. 




    It is not a practice, but a medical center. My group of doctors are part of an HMO network. It is all in the same building, but all different appointments.
  • aeh8810 said:
    aeh8810 said:
    I'm sorry. That would be super tough for me too. Seems like they could just do a quick vaginal ultrasound to at least confirm everything is ok. Honestly I would probably change doctors just based on that because I would go crazy waiting! 
    Not every office has an ultrasound machine in the exam room. I have to go to schedule an appointment with the radiology department for mine.

    Do you go to a larger practice? I never thought about a doctors office not having an ultrasound machine and having to schedule it with another office/department. I guess that is one of the perks of going to a smaller practice. 

    It is not a practice, but a medical center. My group of doctors are part of an HMO network. It is all in the same building, but all different appointments.

    Oh ok. I have only been to the one OB so I never even thought about that. 



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