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Considering getting a fetal doppler to hear your baby’s heartbeat?

Before purchasing one, there’s a few things you should know. What can you use it for? What should you avoid?

In this guide, we’re going over 9 things parents need to know about fetal dopplers.

What is a Fetal Doppler?

Fetal Dopplers are devices that detect a fetal heartbeat in the womb and amplify it through speakers. Ultrasound gel is applied to the stomach and a probe is rocked over the abdomen until the correct noise is detected. It will be amplified through speakers and a heart rate will display on screen.

Fetal dopplers are used in doctor’s offices to evaluate your baby’s heart development. BabyDoppler has also made fetal dopplers available for home use. Home fetal dopplers are pocket-sized, battery-operated devices that are easy to use.

Learn more about fetal dopplers using our guides below:

9 Things Parents NEED To Know About Fetal Dopplers

Below are the things every expecting parent needs to know about fetal dopplers.

You Probably Won’t Hear a Heartbeat Before 12 Weeks

The first thing parents should know about fetal dopplers is when they can hear a heartbeat for the first time.

We typically recommend people start using fetal dopplers around 12 weeks of pregnancy. That’s because, before 12 weeks, your baby may be too small for the device to pick up. Although it’s possible to hear a heartbeat at 8 or 9 weeks, using the device too early without finding a heartbeat might cause anxiety.

Some parents may need to wait longer than 12 weeks to hear their baby’s heartbeat. Sometimes the baby isn’t big enough to be detected until week 15. This is normal and nothing to panic about.

Discerning Doppler Noise Matters

The second thing parents should know about fetal dopplers is how to discern the heartbeat apart from other noises. If you don’t know the difference, you might be mistaking the sound of the placenta for your baby’s heartbeat. Here’s a few quick tips on how to tell the difference:

  • Compare the heartbeat range on screen. A normal adult heart rate is between 60-80 bpm. A normal fetal heart rate is between 120-180 bpm, depending on the stage of their development.
  • If you hear a “whooshing” noise, it might be the placenta. It’s also described as similar to the sound of wind blowing through trees.
  • Galloping noise. People often describe the sound of a fast fetal heartbeat as similar to galloping horses.
  • Listen to videos. A good way to learn the difference between noises is to listen to videos. Get familiar with the noises and what you should be listening for.

Learn more by reading Heartbeat or Another Noise? 8 Tips to Discern Fetal Doppler Noises

Finding a Heartbeat Won’t Always Be Easy… or Possible

The next thing parents should know about fetal dopplers is that you won’t always hear a heartbeat… and that’s completely normal.

Your ability to hear your baby’s heartbeat depends on a variety of factors other than their health, including:

  • Baby’s position
  • Size of baby
  • Device usage (whether or not it’s being correctly used)
  • Body type of mother (plus-sized women might have more luck with a 2MHz probe)
  • Device accuracy

That’s all to say that if you don’t hear a heartbeat—even if you have before—don’t panic! As long as you haven’t experienced a loss of pregnancy symptoms, your baby is most likely okay. Put the device away and try again the next day. (Of course, if you experience a loss of pregnancy symptoms or other alarming symptoms, seek emergency care).

Fetal Dopplers Provide Bonding Experiences

Many parents know that fetal dopplers detect your baby’s heartbeat. But they do more than that. They also provide magical bonding experiences that make family members feel better connected.

Many parents report feeling closer to their baby after using a fetal doppler. This is important for a few reasons:

  • Moms can bond with baby before birth. Studies show that quality bonding earlier in pregnancy is associated with bonding down the road.
  • The non-pregnant parent has limited ways to “experience” the baby before birth. Using a fetal doppler can make the pregnancy feel more real.
  • Children can be gently introduced to their new sibling by hearing their heartbeat. This can help them feel less overwhelmed and surprised when the baby is born.
  • Long-distance family members can feel connected and like they’re a part of your journey.

Always Check for Other Pregnancy Symptoms

Parents should know that hearing a heartbeat should NEVER be the only symptom of health to check for.

If you hear a heartbeat but other pregnancy symptoms have disappeared, you should still seek emergency care.

More important than hearing a heartbeat, you should also be on the lookout for:

  • Loss of movement. If you’re used to feeling your baby move and she’s suddenly stopped, seek emergency care. Starting around 28 weeks, you can count kicks to ensure your baby is developing as expected. (P.S. You can also use the BabyDoppler app to count kicks).
  • Appearance of other warning symptoms. If you experience unexpected new symptoms, consider whether they’re pregnancy warning signs. Pregnancy warning signs include severe vomiting, vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, fever, severe headache, dizziness, or feeling faint.

Dopplers Don’t Replace Check-Ups

Parents should know that fetal dopplers don’t replace check-ups. Even if you think everything is fine with your baby, you still need to attend appointments. That’s for two main reasons.

  • You’re not a medical professional. Only medical professionals are trained to use fetal dopplers correctly, so without being trained, you can’t rely on the results. Even though your doctor uses a fetal doppler in the office, their results may differ from yours because of their training. For this reason, you still need to attend appointments so the doctor can use their own device.
  • Fetal dopplers only detect heart activity. Fetal dopplers are designed to amplify your baby’s heartbeat, but they aren’t a health indicator of anything other than the heart. A prenatal check-up considers other health factors, giving you a full picture of your and your baby’s health.

In summary, home fetal dopplers don’t replace medical advice or appointments. Skipping prenatal check-ups is always dangerous.

Excessive Use May Cause Anxiety

Fetal dopplers are great to use during pregnancy whenever you want to connect more with your baby. For many parents, they relieve anxiety and give them another checkmark that their baby is okay.

However, using a fetal doppler too much can cause emotional distress. You might worry when you can’t detect your baby, even when nothing is wrong. For example, your baby might switch into a position that’s difficult for the device to pick up. Instead of focusing on pregnancy symptoms of health—like movement—you might jump to conclusions, assuming there’s a health problem.

Remember that fetal dopplers should be used moderately, for a few minutes each session. You should avoid excessive or prolonged use.

Heartbeat Recordings Can Be Shared with Doctor

Fetal doppler heartbeats can be recorded and shared with your doctor when concerns arise.

Use the BabyDoppler app to record the heartbeat. Next, save the audio file to your device. You can email the file to your doctor or share it with them during your next appointment.

This is also a good trick to use if you don’t know whether you’re using the device correctly. A doctor can tell you whether you’re correctly detected the fetal heartbeat instead of another noise.

Doppler Heartbeats Can Be Recorded for Keepsakes

Fetal doppler recordings can be saved as keepsakes for years to come. Imagine showing your child their heartbeat once they’re grown.

You can also use the audio file to create a keepsake video, combining the heartbeat with pictures, text, video messages, and a sonogram photo.

For instructions, read DIY Heartbeat Video Keepsake with Fetal Doppler Sonoline B.

Where Can You Buy a Fetal Doppler?

Now that you know everything you need to before purchasing a fetal doppler, where can you get one?

BabyDoppler is the leading retailer of home fetal doppler devices. Each device comes with everything you need to get started, including:

BabyDoppler devices use the latest technology, including intelligent noise reduction and a high-accuracy 3 MHz probe. As a trusted fetal doppler brand, the device comes with perks like:

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
  • Free shipping

Get Your Fetal Doppler Today

With a risk-free 90-day money-back guarantee, what are you waiting for? Elevate your pregnancy and build bonding experiences with BabyDoppler.

Bond with Baby Before Birth. Get a BabyDoppler Today!

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