Q: When I went to the doctor's today, he was unable to find my baby's heart rate with the handheld machine. Is this unusual?
A: At 8 weeks, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to hear a fetal heart beat with a handheld Doppler machine. In fact, during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, fetal heart rate is almost always confirmed by using an ultrasound machine, which uses soundwaves to pick up a baby's heart beat from within the uterus. The heart beat is always seen and can sometimes heard, depending on whether the machine has an audio component. At this point, there isn't cause for concern, but getting an ultrasound can ensure that the pregnancy is developing normally and that the fetus is located inside the uterus and not outside the uterus, which is an ectopic pregnancy.