Buy or Rent a Fetal Doppler: Which is Better
Many pregnant women are intrigued by the idea that they can hear their baby’s heartbeat not just during appointments but also at home. When you decide you want to use an at-home fetal doppler, you have two options: Renting or buying.
When deciding to buy or rent a fetal doppler, there are a few factors to consider: Type of doppler, shipping, cost, and how long you’d want it for.
This guide will outline what a fetal doppler is and help you decide if a temporary or permanent device is best for you.
What is a Fetal Doppler?
During a pregnant woman’s ultrasound, she will get to hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time! Luckily, with the help of a fetal doppler, she will be able to have that exciting experience at home. A fetal doppler is an at-home, handheld device that is used to hear a baby’s heartbeat.
Pregnant women can start using a doppler at around 12 weeks. It’s sometimes possible to hear a heartbeat as early as 8 weeks, but waiting until 12 weeks can prevent you from feeling any unnecessary anxiety or impatience.
Many expecting parents find that using a fetal doppler helps ease their concerns. Many times throughout pregnancy, a mother may worry if her baby is healthy. Detecting a heartbeat can provide reassurance between appointments. It can also provide a bonding experience between the baby and the father.
It’s important to note that you should not rely on a fetal doppler for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns.
How Does a Fetal Doppler Work?
To use a fetal doppler, a woman lays down and applies ultrasound gel to her lower belly. She then places the probe in the gel and moves it around until she can find her fetus. When a heartbeat is detected, the doppler will display the heart rate.
Different factors affect how early and how well a heartbeat can be heard: The mother’s body size and the size and position of the fetus. The bigger your baby is, the better a parent can hear the heartbeat. If no heartbeat is heard, be patient and try again the next day.
For a more detailed guide on how to use a fetal doppler and the science behind it, click here.
Types of Fetal Dopplers
There are two main types of fetal dopplers: Digital and non-digital. They both allow you to attach headphones to listen to your baby’s heartbeat; however, the digital option has an LCD screen that displays your baby’s heart rate. You can choose to use a personal fetal doppler, advanced (medical-grade) doppler or a high-end doppler that can connect to your smartphone.
Different brands and models have different features. Here are some aspects to consider:
- Earphones included
- Doppler frequency (MHz)
- Waterproof probe
- Connects to smartphone
- Built in audio recording
- USB charging or batteries
Before purchasing or renting a doppler, consult our comparison chart to help you choose the best option.
Buy or Rent a Fetal Doppler: Renting Considerations
Now that you understand what a fetal doppler does, you must decide if it’s better to rent or buy one. Although some stores sell dopplers, the easiest place to purchase or rent a doppler is online. Along with websites dedicated to buying and renting, the device may also be listed on classified websites.
When you’re choosing between renting and buying a doppler, you should be aware there are additional aspects to consider if you decide to rent.
Who Pays for Return Shipping?
When deciding if you should rent a doppler, be sure to pay close attention to the company’s return policies. Who pays for return shipping? Depending on where you live, some companies may provide a return shipping label, whereas others will expect you to pay out of pocket.
You should also consider how long shipping will take. If shipping takes one or two weeks, you’ll technically be renting and paying for the time it’s in transit even though you aren’t using it. This cuts down on the actual time you can use it within your rental period before you need to send it back. For example, if it takes two weeks to ship to you and a week to ship back, you’re paying for almost a whole month of just shipping.
How Long Can You Keep it?
Different companies will have different rules when it comes to how long you can keep the doppler. For some websites, you have to select how many months you need it for and pay up front. Other websites allow you to rent the doppler however long you’d like for a flat fee. Consider how far along you are in your pregnancy and how long you’ll want to use it for.
Do They Offer Returns?
Even if you’re not buying a doppler, you probably still want the option to return it. If the device breaks or simply isn’t working, you should be able to get your money back. Check if the company offers refunds. Will they refund shipping too? Within how many days can you receive a refund?
What Does it Come with?
Check to see what each doppler rental comes with to ensure you won’t have any additional costs. If a rental doesn’t come with batteries or ultrasound gel, those are items you will have to purchase yourself. You should also pay attention to shipping prices. Some websites, such as BabyDoppler, offer free shipping.
Before making a decision, make sure the company has a statement on their website indicating that they thoroughly sanitize each rental before shipping it to the next customer.
Check the company’s website to see if they offer free support. When you first receive your doppler, you may have questions about how it works or may run into issues. You should feel reassured that you can call or email the company at any time to receive guidance. For example, at Baby Doppler, we actively seek to promote and educate parents on the correct usage of fetal dopplers. Our support staff can be reached at any time to answer any product-related questions.
Pros of Buying a Doppler
You have much more options if you choose to buy a doppler versus renting one. Many rental websites only offer one or a few options and only provide medical-grade devices. While medical-grade devices can be used at home, many parents have great success when they purchase significantly lower cost dopplers.
One mother decided to both purchase and rent a doppler to see if there was a difference. In her review, she concluded that the medical-grade rental “doesn’t find the heartbeat any faster or more easily than the Sonoline B.”
Medical-grade dopplers are typically used by doctors and midwives. However, some healthcare professionals also use the same dopplers we sell in our store.
When you are purchasing a doppler, you can choose a model based on which features it has and you have more flexibility.
Whether you choose to rent or buy, make sure that your device is FDA approved and safe.
If you are solely basing your decision on price, buying a doppler is the best decision. On babydoppler.com, our devices range from around $40 to $70. This is a one-time purchase, so keep in mind that you can use the device for future pregnancies or even let a pregnant friend borrow it.
On the other hand, some companies are charging over $35 a month just to rent a doppler. For almost the same price as a one-month rental, you can purchase a doppler and keep it permanently. If having a medical-grade doppler seems unnecessary, buying is the most cost-effective option.
Some websites, including BabyDoppler.com, offer an optional warranty plan. This will ensure your device will stay reliable even if you use it for future pregnancies two years later. If you rent a doppler, you will have to go through the whole rental process again if you choose to have more children.
Owning your own doppler is just easier. Firstly, you don’t have to worry about returning it in perfect condition. Since rental dopplers typically retail for hundreds of dollars, you will need to repay that amount if you accidently damage it. You will also need to keep an eye out for the rental deadline. Purchasing a doppler means you won’t think about who used it before you or how it’s sterilized.
Many women choose to both buy and rent fetal dopplers for different reasons. We have outlined several aspects to consider when choosing, but if you’re not sure if renting or buying is right for you, we can help! Call 1-800-590-2767 or email us at email@example.com for guidance with choosing a fetal doppler.
Have you bought or rented a fetal doppler? If you have, comment below and tell us your experience! Share this article with pregnant friends and family to help them choose a doppler that is right for them, too.