If you’re considering buying a fetal doppler, you might wonder what they can and can’t tell you.
Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is magical, but it’s not the same as receiving health advice. After all, fetal dopplers are devices, not doctors. Still, there are many benefits to having a fetal heartbeat monitor throughout your journey.
In this guide, you’ll learn what a pocket fetal doppler can and can’t tell you.
What Is a Fetal Doppler?
A fetal doppler is a handheld device used to detect your baby’s heartbeat while she’s in the womb. The heartbeat plays through speakers and you see the fetal heart rate displayed on screen. Pocket fetal dopplers are easy to use. Similar to an ultrasound, a mother rocks the probe on her stomach until the correct noise is found.
For an easy guide, read How to Use a Fetal Doppler – The Proper Way.
What a Pocket Fetal Doppler CAN Tell You
Pocket fetal dopplers provide many benefits to parents. Below is what a fetal doppler can tell you about your pregnancy.
CAN Tell You What Baby’s Heartbeat Sounds Like
The main benefit of a fetal doppler is that it allows you to hear your baby’s heartbeat. Over time, you may begin to notice patterns in her rhythm. Mostly though, parents cherish experiencing their baby. Hearing the sound of your baby’s heart before she’s born can make pregnancy seem more “real”—especially for the other partner. For both mom and the rest of the family, fetal dopplers provide a bonding experience, helping you connect before birth.
CAN Tell Your Baby’s Heart Rate
The display screen on a pocket fetal doppler Sonoline B allows you to easily see your baby’s heart rate. As long as you’ve detected the correct noise, you’ll see how your baby’s heart rate changes as she develops. You can use the BabyDoppler app to note the fetal heart rate for each session.
For what you can expect, read Normal Fetal Doppler Heart Rate Ranges: The Ultimate Guide.
CAN Provide Reassurance Alongside Other Pregnancy Symptoms
Fetal dopplers can provide parents with an extra layer of reassurance. As long as you’re monitoring for pregnancy symptoms and don’t have a reason to suspect anything is wrong, a fetal doppler can act as another checkmark.
Especially for parents who’ve had prior miscarriages, pregnancy can bring about worries like, “is my baby still ok?” or “everything seems okay but I’m always concerned.” When all signs point to a healthy baby, hearing the sound of life can provide calm reassurance.
Of course, any reasons for concern should be reported to your doctor.
CAN Tell Your Doctor Info During Virtual Prenatal Appointments
If you have phone or video prenatal appointments, you can use your fetal doppler with your doctor. Since there’s a trained professional to help, they can ensure you’re using it correctly and listen in as you check the baby. They can confirm that the heartbeat is healthy and that the heart rate falls within a normal range.
<h3>CAN Tell Doctor Info with Recordings
Another option is to record a heartbeat session and play it back for your doctor. This is particularly helpful if you have a question about something you heard. For example, you might question whether the heartbeat is abnormal or if you’ve correctly detected the beat. After recording the heartbeat, email the audio file to your doctor or play it during an appointment to address your concern.
Other Uses of a Fetal Doppler Sonoline B
Besides sharing information about your baby’s health, a pocket fetal doppler has other purposes. Check out these fun ideas:
- Recording Keepsakes.Use the BabyDoppler app to record your baby’s heartbeat to save forever. Consider saving one for each detectable month.
- Help Introduce Child to Baby.Gradually introduce your child to their new sibling by letting them hear the heartbeat. This can help them understand the family addition, making it less of a shock when the birth happens.
- Help You Announce Pregnancy. Many mothers can begin hearing their baby’s heartbeat on a pocket fetal doppler at around 12 weeks. This is also around the time when many choose to announce their pregnancy. Although you can share the good news anytime, if you wait until the 12thweek, consider adding your baby’s heartbeat to the announcement
- Keepsake Video.Use your heartbeat recording to create a keepsake video featuring your baby’s sonogram photos, prenatal photos, messages to baby and more. For more instructions, read DIY Heartbeat Video Keepsake with Fetal Doppler Sonoline B.
What a Fetal Doppler CAN’T Tell You
Although fetal dopplers have many purposes, they can’t give you health advice. Below are the things you can’t rely on a fetal doppler for.
CAN’T Tell You About Heartbeat Before 12 Weeks
Although a fetal doppler can detect a heartbeat as early as weeks 8 or 9, many women first hear their baby around week 12. Even if you detect the heartbeat early, you might not be able to reliably detect it every time after. Since the baby is still small, she needs to grow before you can expect to consistently find a heart rate. Some women can’t find the correct noise until week 14.
This is important to know: Unreliable detection early on usually shouldn’t cause concern. As your baby grows bigger, you’ll detect her easier and more frequently.
CAN’T Diagnose Problems
A fetal doppler can help a trained professional, like a doctor or nurse, diagnose problems. However, you can’t use a fetal doppler to diagnose problems (unless you’re a doctor).
Without training, you might not even be sure if you’ve detected the correct noise. Even if you found the heartbeat, assessing it is another skill entirely. A doctor can determine if the heartbeat sounds abnormal or if there’s an irregular pattern.
Assuming you know as much as a doctor can lead to false worry. For example, you might think your baby is missing heartbeats when she’s only moved positions.
CAN’T Detect Miscarriage Unless Confirmed By Doctor
Even when your baby is bigger and you can reliably detect her, you might hear the heartbeat every session except for one. It’s easy to worry and wonder if you’ve miscarried. But consider there’s several other reasons you might not hear your baby. For example, they could have switched positions where it’s more difficult to hear. Many times, you can check back again later and detect your baby’s heartbeat.
If you’re concerned you’ve had a miscarriage—such as having miscarriage symptoms or a loss of pregnancy symptoms—only a doctor can confirm that.
CAN’T Override Real Pregnancy Concerns
A pocket fetal doppler can provide an extra layer of reassurance alongside other pregnancy symptoms, like baby kicks. When your pregnancy symptoms are normal, hearing the heartbeat can be an extra checkmark—easing your anxiety.
With that being said, hearing a heartbeat does not override other concerns, such as a loss of fetal movement. For example, if fetal movement has stopped and you still detect a heartbeat, you should still seek medical attention.
Hearing a heartbeat doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay if you’re experiencing concerning changes. You could also be incorrectly using the device, mistaking another noise for the heartbeat. Any worrying symptoms or loss of pregnancy symptoms should always be checked out immediately.
CAN’T Replace Doctor’s Appointments
Pocket fetal dopplers are designed to be between appointments, but they do not replace prenatal check-ups.
When your doctor uses their own fetal doppler in-office, they’re trained to evaluate the heartbeat, which you can’t do at home. In-person appointments have other purposes too, like monitoring your blood pressure to prevent pregnancy complications. Even if you think your baby is perfectly healthy, make sure your doctor confirms that during routine appointments.
CAN’T Replace Monitoring for Pregnancy Symptoms
A fetal doppler is a fun way to track your baby’s heartbeat as they grow. However, it shouldn’t be the only way you track your pregnancy health.
In your third trimester, nothing replaces counting your baby’s kicks. Tracking to make sure there’s 10 movements in 2 hours can suggest they’re developing as expected. If you notice a sudden drop in baby movement, that could hint at a potential problem. For help counting kicks, download the Baby Doppler app.
CAN’T Cure All Baby-Related Anxiety
As long as you continue to experience the expected pregnancy symptoms, fetal dopplers can provide extra reassurance. But it’s important to note that they can’t cure all your baby-related worries.
Some people with anxiety may obsessively use a fetal doppler and panic whenever they can’t immediately detect a heartbeat. In these cases, it’s best to put the device away for a few weeks until you’re more confident about your baby’s health and can reliably detect a heartbeat. If you’re compulsively using the device, you might consider making a rule of when to use it (ex. twice every week only).
Lastly, it’s understandable for any parent to worry about their baby’s health during pregnancy. However, if it’s causing anxiety that impacts your mental health, talk to your doctor. They can recommend counseling and coping mechanisms. Studies show that prenatal counseling can help reduce anxiety levels.
Where to Buy a Pocket Fetal Doppler
Fetal doppler Sonoline B models are the go-to trusted brand for reliable, high-quality devices. Choose from pink, blue and teal starting at $49.95.